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Fitness and Photography for Fun - A blog on staying fit by hiking and doing photography by David Mendosa

Panama’s Canopy Tower: Animal Life

March 27th, 2011 · No Comments

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Sloths and monkeys were the mammals near Canopy Tower that I was most successful in photographing. One day we walked down the mile-long road from Canopy Tower on Semaphore Hill to the Panama City-Gamboa highway. Our guide, Carlos Bethancourt, spotted a Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth hanging upside down in the tree canopy, and we got great views of it as the sloth became as active as sloths get. In other words it scratched its back.

A Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth

A Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth

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On another day as we walked along the famed Pipeline Road we took a short side trail into the forest to a monkey roost.

A Western Night-Monkey

A Western Night-Monkey

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A couple of hours later we were walking along Pipeline Road, which we build to accompany an oil pipeline running across Panama during World War II. While we never had to use the pipeline, the road remains and has a reputation for being one of the best birding spots in the world. Not only did we see birds here, but this is where we spotted a monkey hanging by his prehensile tail. While I know what a prehensile tail is, I’m still trying to figure out what a hensile tail would be.

A Mantled Howler Monkey

A Mantled Howler Monkey

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The next morning we hiked the Plantation Trail that begins where the Canopy Tower entrance road leaves the highway. There we discovered more Mantled Howler Monkeys.

Another Howler

Another Howler

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A Male Mantled Howler Monkey

A Male Mantled Howler Monkey

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The next day we were back on Pipeline Road, which winds 12 miles through the forest of Soberanía National Park. Above us along the road we saw a capuchin, the third monkey species here.

A White-faced Capuchin Monkey

A White-faced Capuchin Monkey

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But the best monkey viewing came on March 15 near the conclusion of my visit to Panama. Early that morning I watched this little monkey scamper around in a tree close to the observation deck of Canopy Tower.

A Small Monkey Known as a Geoffroy's Tamarin

A Small Monkey Known as a Geoffroy's Tamarin

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Species of mammals are much less common than those of birds. For example, people have found 595 of species birds around Canopy Tower and Canopy Lodge and only 57 species of mammals. While bird diversity is much greater than that of mammals, the mammals are bigger. In addition to being bigger, there is a certain excitement about seeing mammals that eclipses all of those little birds.

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Posted in: Panama, Photography

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