The Amphibian Survival Alliance applauds today’s unanimous decision by Panama’s Supreme Court declaring the Minera Panama copper mine 406 contact-law unconstitutional. This historic ruling is a victory for Panama’s local communities, Indigenous peoples, and irreplaceable ecosystems that are home to endangered wildlife like the Gemini’s dart frog.

We have been deeply concerned about the threats this open-pit mining project posed to biodiversity in the Donoso Protected Area. This Key Biodiversity Area and Alliance for Zero Extinction Site, part of the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor, contains critical habitat for Panama’s national animal, the harpy eagle, as well as endangered species found nowhere else on Earth like the Gemini’s dart frog.

Gemini’s dart frog (Andinobates geminisae) © Abel Batista

Mining operations were already destroying thousands of hectares of pristine rainforest in this protected area, threatening to make unique species extinct before they could even be discovered. We feared the mine’s expansion would further degrade habitats, contaminate water sources, and disrupt vital ecological corridors for wildlife movement.

The court’s decision upholds Panama’s laws protecting nature and recognizes the mine violated the rights of local communities. It sets an important precedent for environmental justice and gives hope for a more sustainable future in harmony with nature. There is still work ahead to fully safeguard biodiversity in the Donoso Protected Area, but this ruling marks a turning point.

As Panama works to implement this decision, we stand ready to collaborate with government agencies, Indigenous communities, and civil society groups to conduct scientific surveys of endangered amphibians and develop conservation solutions. Protecting irreplaceable places like the Donoso Protected Area is vital for Panama’s natural heritage and the survival of unique species that depend on healthy ecosystems.

We congratulate the people of Panama! This victory demonstrates the power of unified action to defend nature. It offers hope that, by working together, we can achieve a just, sustainable world where both humans and wildlife can thrive.

Photo: @enlayesk507