“The awareness process begins when visitors first come. This space is our means of connecting to create ties between humans and different species, especially through our tours. Our visitors learn about how these animals came to the zoo and why many can no longer return to nature,” says Rossana, the zoo’s activities agent who organizes the experiences held almost every weekend.
This space is a source of pride for Buenaventura. Over time it has become a reference in the conservation care of native species, working with other public and private organizations.
When asked about the inspiration for planning and developing the Zoo’s activities, Rossana emphasized nature and children.
“We are inspired by nature so visitors can learn about Panama’s environment and fauna, which is important to know and respect. Another source of inspiration is children since they are the most curious ones, and that is why we try to ensure that all our dynamics arouse that curiosity”.
Another aspect to highlight in planning is constantly involving the surrounding community to know and understand what interests the visitor and how they should receive the information.
“For many ideas and activities, we consult experts, especially biology students, biologists, and veterinarians, to find the correct information we must convey to visitors. The development path is full of challenges but very satisfying because people give us good feedback and always take new lessons and dynamics. People are quite happy with the information they receive.”
The impact on the community
People from different parts come to the Zoo to learn more about the native fauna. As Rossana points out, there are various types of audiences, especially two. “There are those who come a lot for the activities. Young children love visiting the farm area because they can interact with the animals. And others love to see wildlife. Visitors come with their cameras to photograph species they have been unable to see naturally. The species that most attract them are those in the wildlife area, such as the albino python, alligators, deer, monkeys, cats, capybaras, and toucans. These are the most photographed.”
The important thing for her is that little by little, and an impact has been generated throughout the community, not only in Buenaventura but also in the surrounding areas.
“We have been integrating visitors from the surrounding area, taking advantage of the cleanup and especially the release of turtles. For example, they were interested in how these little animals reach the sea. It is very nice how the community wants to become aware of the life cycle of animals. Still, the most important thing is that many visitors want to continue participating, get more involved in the activities, and ask us to participate in future events. The fact that people have important environmental dates and seasons in mind already shows that our job is well done, ”she said.