How a little drawing can be an inspiration

The last time I visited Granazul and Daniel in his dwelling in Cobachon (when he spoke the famous words: “no me gusta este flycatcher, muy complicado y pequeno. ”) was in 2016. To explain to me the geographical situation of the farms between Cobachon and the Cerro Hoya Daniel wanted to draw me a little map.

While he was looking for an empty piece of paper I noticed that there were several fully written pages laying around. “What are those. Daniel?”I asked. A bit reluctant and with a shy smile he answered me that those papers were his observations of birds, animals and even trees. “How long have you made those notes?”I asked. “Por muchos anos,” he answered.

The map Daniel drew, in all its coarseness, gave me a good idea what was happening in the areas between Cerro Hoya and the Pacific Ocean. And to be more specific where Daniel wrote ” Sander” on his map that is Granazul – the land our familly owns. And next to ” Sander” you see ” F Panama” wich is the conservation area of Fundacion Panama, bought through the IUCN some years ago.

The realization of Granazul’s unique location so close to the Cerro Hoya together with Daniel’s important knowledge of Azuero’s flora and fauna, inspired me to play a humble role in documenting and possibly conserving Nature in and around Granazul.

Map Cerro Hoya – Granazul

Back in Chitre where I stayed with the Morales family I asked my friends to help me with a letter to the ornithologist Francisco Delgado, discoverer of the Painted Parakeet of Azuero. I thought professor Delgado might know of Daniel Saenz as he is mentioned by George R. Angehr in “ A bird finding Guide to Panama.” In my letter I explained to professor Delgado my ideas and plans to interview Daniel.

Professor Delgado did not response to my letter and for some years I chose not to think about interviewing Daniel . Yet the idea did not reallyl leave me ..

Until … well …untill last year summer when I met with my beloved cousin Marco, who was visiting the Netherlands form Mexico where he has lived for the last twenty years. Marco just turned seventy and being 8 years his senior, I thought we would make an excellent duo for my expidition to Granazul- Cobachon. And so did Marco!

First I contacted Ruth Metzel of the Azuero Earth Project, now Azuero Eco Project who I had met many years ago in Pedasi. Ruth greatly approvevd of my plan to document Daniel’s diaries and brought me in contact with Sandra Vasques – working in Pedasi. Sandra and I agreed that we would wait until January – a month before Marco and I were scheduled to come to Panama, to go over the details of our trip and to find the right interns to come with us to Granazul – Cobachon.

Knowing that the land next to Granazul was bought many years ago by the Fundacion Panama, through the IUCN in the Netherlands, I decided to contact their office in Amsterdam. I was very fortunate to meet with Marc Hoogeslag who, when I told him about Daniel, said the following:

“It is easy to become cynical when you work in conservation for two decades, but men like Daniel give us hope again. To document all the information Daniel can share is of crucial importance.”

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