Playing with Porcupines ( and Sloths and Jaguars) at APPC in Panama

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The Asociacion Panamericana Para La Conservacion, or APPC to minimize confusion,  is a wildlife rehabilitation facility in the Gamboa Rainforest surrounding the Panama Canal that takes in all manner of local wildlife, from porcupines to jaguars, and a whole lot of sloths.  The APPC takes in a number of animals due to problems like loss of habitat, natural predators, and sloths being significantly slower than cars.  The APPC even has a few resident animals who are not suitable for re-release into the wild due to the nature of their injuries or the amount of time spent in captivity.  One of their more famous residents is a three toed sloth named Coquito that pays regular visits to guests at the neighboring Gamboa Rainforest Resort.

Coquito,The Asociacion Panamericana Para La Conservacion (APPC) head sloth in Gamboa, Panama

Coquito hard at work.

The Asociacion Panamericana Para La Conservacion just opened a brand new facility on the grounds of the Gamboa Rainforest Resort.  The President of APPC, Néstor Correa and his wife/director (of APPC not him) Yiscel Yángüez, bring Coquito and some of his wild friends by the Gamboa Rainforest Resort every evening at 5pm to give a free presentation to guest of the resort about local wildlife and conservation efforts and give the guest the chance to get an up close look at these adorable slow pokes.  In case you were wondering, you can look but not touch or take home with you.  The APPC has a pretty strict no snuggling or smuggling policy.

Two toed sloth enjoying a carrot during his presentation at The Gamboa Rainforest Resort in Panama

If the free presentation whets your appetite for more sloths, tours of the new APPC facility are also available by appointment for a donation of $7 for adults and $4 for children, with children under 4 admitted free.  This donation goes towards the completion of the new facility, expenses for the animals currently in their care and their team’s continued conservation and education efforts. The tour offers a glimpse at some of the less portable animals that couldn’t make it to the presentation at the resort as well as a behind the scenes look at the inner workings of the rehabilitation facility.  If you’re lucky, you may even get to touch one!

Playing with a Porcupine at The Asociacion Panamericana Para La Conservacion in Panama

Playing with a Porcupine at The Asociacion Panamericana Para La Conservacion in Panama

As of December 2015 the animals in their care at the facility included 2 sloths (both 2 and 3 toed varieties), an iguana, a bunny, a few turtles, a very friendly porcupine, and a beautiful jaguar named Fiona.  Though if you would like to meet Fiona, you’d better hurry.  She is bound for a zoo in West Palm Beach, FL soon.

Fiona, the resident jaguar at The Asociacion Panamericana Para La Conservacion in Panama
There are all sorts of animal tourism opportunities out there, from riding and elephant to taking a selfie with a tiger, but The Asociacion Panamericana Para La Conservacion is a wildlife tourism experience you can feel good about.  While it’s not exactly bottle feeding a baby tiger (which you shouldn’t do for a number of reasons), there is no mistaking the passion of Néstor Correa, Yiscel Yángüez, and the entire team at the Asociacion Panamericana Para La Conservacion.  You can rest assured that there is no mistreatment or exploitation of the spectacular animals in their care and your small donation goes to a great cause.

Coquito, a three toed sloth at The Asociacion Panamericana Para La Conservacion in Panama

If you can’t make it to Panama anytime soon, but would still like to help out with the care of these cuties, the Asociacion Panamericana Para La Conservacion does accept tax deductible donations through paypal on their website,  Coquito and his buddies will thank you for it.

21 thoughts on “Playing with Porcupines ( and Sloths and Jaguars) at APPC in Panama

  1. Sloths are just such cool animals. I was heart broken to hear about the bad news about the Sloth sanctuary in Puerto Rico the other day. I hope this place is different and treats its animals with care and respect. It seems like it from your pictures and writing though <3

  2. I love it when people choose to visit conservation centres and wildlife rehabilitation facilities instead of places that use wildlife attractions for money and profit. That’s the way it should be and more needs to be done to create such awareness – esp in my region, SE Asia – so kudos to you! I hope Fiona would settle down well soon at the zoo. Love that photo of Coquito, by the way! Very cute, haha!

  3. Wow, what an experience! I really would love to see a sloth in real life some day! Your pictures are wonderful and makes me want to head straight to the APPC (and Panama in general!)

  4. It looks like they take good care of their animals and lots of precautions to protect them (no snuggling or smuggling!) And the cost/donation to get in is extremely reasonable!

  5. Aww those sloths are just too cute! I’d love to see them for real!

  6. I’ve never been to a conservatory before but I loved that they are helping to rehabilitate and keep the animals safe. Fiona is gorgeous! Was the presentation the highlight of your experience there?

  7. Brave of you to touch a porcupine! It’s cool that there are places like that to rehabilitate​ animals even in far away places like Panama. The sloth looks like he’s smiling 🙂

  8. Rob

    We were in Panama for 6 months and never visited APPC, my son would have loved it! We saw all types of animals during our stay including a couple of sloths but no Jaguars. Next time we are in Panama this we be on our list a things to do.

  9. Wow, I have never heard of that animals before (except of Jaguar before). Maybe it is bec. I am not an English native-speaker but I am also sure that I have never seen them 🙂 They look super cute (or better interesting 🙂 and this looks like a great chance to get close to them…

  10. Oh so lucky. Sloths are cute! lol looks like you had a great time.

  11. The sloths appear to be the winner here in the comments, but Fiona the jaguar is absolutely beautiful. Do you have any information on why she is being sent to a zoo, rather than released into the wild?

    • Mags

      Very sad story unfortunately, her mother was killed by poachers when she was very young. The staff at the APPC had to bottle feed her, but now she’s too reliant on humans to be released into the wild and getting too big to keep at the center, but hopefully she’ll adapt well to Florida life.

  12. Fun experience with some cute animals. Looks like you had a very good time.
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  13. You are much braver than me! I wouldn’t get so close to a porcupine, at least not on purpose.

  14. I didn’t expect them to be so cute! I haven’t travelled to this part of the world yet but when I eventually get here i’ll put this on my list!

  15. I just adore places like this that are helping innocent animals. It’s so great that you get to interact with them too. We love animals and will definitely stop there when we visit Panama.

  16. I would love to see a porcupine up close!! How cool! And, of course, sloths too.

  17. I remember you being there and telling Eddie that we needed to visit some time but after the pictures, I know for certain we will be there on our next trip to Panama in July. 😉 Looks like a fantastic time. I’ve seen sloths in the wild around Panama before but this was amazing.

  18. Omg this is awesome! I want to do this too. I would love to interact with these animals especially the sloth. So adorable!

  19. Sloths are just so cool!! – and Fiona – what a name for a jaguar! I’d love to be able to interact with all these creatures – it would be such an amazing day!

  20. Haha love the photos of the sloths. See you on Tbex this summer, gonna be fun to get to know you!

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