In addition to locals and tourists heading to Isla Iguana, el Arenal beach entertains a wide variety of local wildlife and a unique dune ecosystem. Maintaining a clean, litter-free community is one way of preserving the unique wildlife that defines the Azuero region. On July 15, 2016 AEP participated in a clean-up of El Arenal Beach hosted by the local Environmental Ministry Office and the Isla Iguana Wildlife Refuge.
On a daily basis, countless people visit the El Arenal Beach as a key point for visiting Isla Iguana. However, did you know that El Arenal itself is inside a Wildlife Refuge and buffer zone to Isla Iguana? “Which Refuge is that?” you might ask. It’s the Pablo Arturo Barrios Wildlife Refuge!
Named for a famous Pedasieño environmentalist, the Pablo Arturo Barrios Wildlife Refuge extends from the mouth of the Purio river to Punta Mala. For more information on the Refuge, see here. Curious about wildlife in the refuge? On our website you can find a list of key bird species found by one of our bird counting expeditions and a handbook on the use and conservation of mangroves within the refuge.
The Pablo Arturo Barrios Wildlife Refuge is critical for tourism, coastal protection and the fishing industry of the Pedasí community and others, so the next time you head to the beach for fun, remember that you can choose to leave behind a large pile of trash that pollutes the area or you can conduct your own mini-beach cleanup and be part of the solution! The beach is a great place to relax and let go of all our personal troubles, but it is also a great place to give back and clean up after ourselves. Watching members of the community that are truly invested in a better environment and committed to the other species that call Azuero home was a truly heart-warming experience.