General de División Omar Torrijos Herrera National Park

Year of compilation: 2003

Site description
Omar Torrijos National Park, above the town of El Copé, includes the easternmost part of the main cordillera of western Panama. It is contiguous with Santa Fé National Park and the Golfo de los Mosquitos Forests. The height of the main divide in the park decreases from a 1,710 m peak (unnamed on maps) near the western boundary to Cerro Peña Blanca (710 m) in the east. The park contains the upper watersheds of the Río Grande on the Pacific slope and the Belén and Coclé del Norte Rivers on the Caribbean, with the low point (80 m) on the Belén. A four-wheel-drive road reaches the park from El Copé, rising to 910 m before descending on the Caribbean slope, and a gravel road to Coclesito passes near the eastern end of the park. The road above El Copé is a popular birding destination, but the higher peaks in the west and the Caribbean lowlands have never been ornithologically surveyed.

Key biodiversity
The globally threatened Red-fronted Parrotlet, Three-wattled Bellbird and Bare-necked Umbrellabird occur, as well as the near-threatened Black Guan and Blue-and-gold Tanager. The near-threatened Resplendent Quetzal and Great Curassow almost certainly occur. The park contains 5 of 11 species (45%) of South Central American Caribbean Slope EBA, and EBA 019. Contains 21 of 54 species (39%) of the Costa Rica and Panama Highlands EBA. The park also contains many nationally threatened species. A breeding site of Orange-breasted Falcon, for which there have been only five previous records from Panama, has recently been located (A. Palleroni pers. com.).

Non-bird biodiversity: Mammals probably include Water Opossum, Central American Wooly Opossum, Silky Anteater, Northern Naked-tailed Armadillo, Geoffroy's Tamarin, Central American Spider Monkey, Panamanian Spiny Pocket Mouse, Olingo, Neotropical River Otter, Ocelot, Margay, Jaguarundi, Puma, Jaguar and Baird's Tapir. Amphibians include the frogs and toads Atelopus varius, A. zeteki, Colosthetus flotator, C. inguinalis, Dendrobates vicentei, Eleutherodactylus museosus and E. pardalis,* and the salamander Bolitoglossa schizodactyla.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
About 5,000 ha, or 20% of the park, has been deforested, and illegal clearing and colonization remain problems. With so few staff it is difficult for ANAM to control of hunting or clearing within the park. Given its closeness to Panama City, the park has great potential for eco-tourism. However, a four-wheel-drive vehicle is required for access.

Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
None known.

Protected areas
Omar Torrijos National Park was declared in 1986, and there are five park guards assigned to it. New vistor's facilities, including a visitor center and cabin, have recently been constructed.

Habitat and land use
The park contains mostly submontane forest, with wet evergreen lowland forest on the Caribbean slope. About 5,000 ha, or 20% of the park, has been deforested, principally in the east in the valleys of the Guabal and Bermejo Rivers, but also along the Belén and San Juan Rivers in the northwest. The surrounding area is populated primarily by latinos and devoted to cattle and subsistence agriculture.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: General de División Omar Torrijos Herrera National Park. Downloaded from on 11/08/2020.