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International expedition in Panama

By Borislav Paunovski / January, 20, 2017 / 0 comments

From 11 to 15 January 2017 an international cave expedition was held in Panama. The expedition was attended by researchers from the United States, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Costa Rica, France, Poland and four Bulgarians under the flag of the Bulgarian Federation of Speleology. The event was organized by scientists and researchers from different spheres of science.

The purpose of the expedition was to study the difficult and unfamiliar Baiano area in eastern Panama.

The area is only accessible by boat and the climate is heavily influenced by the artificial Baiano Lake, which determines the way of life of the local population of the Kuna Yala, which mainly feeds on fishing and farming. Around the lake, one of the most preserved rain forests in Panama is growing.

So far, 50 caves have been known for the country. During the expedition, 10 caves were discovered and described, some of which are connected to a complex underground system, which may be the longest in Panama. Several cliffs have been explored, the most interesting of which is the “Magic Hole” – called by the local people so that something once released in the cave disappears forever. In addition to speleological activity that included environmental research and mapping, surveys of above-ground fauna were conducted.

For the limited time, it has been found that the area has great potential and requires more in-depth research that we hope to do soon.

List of participants:

Austin GarridoExpedition leaderUSA
Bernadette RigleyResearch AssistantUSA
Ben MeltonVolunteerUSA
Elisa JamesVolunteerUSA
Borislav PaunovskiCaverBulgaria
Nia ToshkovaBat biologistBulgaria
Stanimira DelevaBat biologistBulgaria
Angel IvanovCave instructorBulgaria
Ilouise EbrSustainable development expertFrance
Krysztof KozakLepidopterologistPoland
James  CobbettCaverUK
Pat CroninCaverIreland
Dig HastilowCaverUK
Richard SolanoCaverCosta rica
Michael MartinezCaverCosta rica
Christian SalazarBat biologistCosta rica
Michelle NowakResearch AssistantUSA
Gerald CarterBat biologistUSA

DSC_0487_web  Representatives of Cave Rescue Bulgaria and Rafting Club Raflip

1Friendly children from the Kuna Yala tribe

2  The base camp is only accessible by boat

3  Our base camp in the remote village of Pueblo Nuevo

8To live the Bulgarian-Costa Rican friendship

7 A toad that has fallen into a cave


Bats study


Cave bat (Pteronotus gymnonotus)

4 River Valley


At the entrance of the “Magic Hole”

11 The cave of Pueblo Nuevo

12 Roger


Vampitre bats