Coiba National Park, Panama

Coiba National Park hosts the highest density of foraging hawksbill turtles identified to date in the eastern Pacific.

Since September of 2014 a multi-national research team has been conducting hawksbill monitoring activities every six months at Coiba National Park in Panama. The researchers have been astounded to catch more than 120 hawksbills in the four monitoring expeditions since that time.  All indications point to Coiba National Park as hosting the highest density of hawksbills anywhere in the eastern Pacific Ocean. The team has also been able to attach satellite tags to two adult male hawksbills name Mali in honor of the local park ranger (who helped researchers identify the hawksbill hotspots) and Coiba, as well as an adult female hawksbill name Maria Sofia (in honor of the daughter of one of the primary researchers, Marino Abrego). Efforts are currently underway to continuing evaluating hawksbill in-water presence, as well as potential nesting by the species.


  • Establish a permanent hawksbill monitoring program within Coiba National Park
  • Generate demographic data and estimate the hawksbill population in the area
  • Evaluate the beaches of Coiba National Park to detect whether hawksbill nesting occurs.


  • Discovery of a regionally important hawksbill foraging ground
  • Major implications for park management
  • Unique opportunities to study the species


Conservation strategies used by this project site:

In-water Monitoring

Exploratory Habitat Investigations

Protected Area Management

Implementing Organizations

ICAPO’s Role with Implementing Organization

  • Communication with other organizations (information link)
  • Access funding sources
  • Funding proposals
  • Joint management (planning and implementation, reporting)
  • Technical advising (capacity-building, training, protocol/methodology development)
  • Research and publications collaboration