In this photo taken Oct. 18, 2012, shorebirds fly over the waters of the Bay of Panama, near a mangrove forest that hugs the coastline of Panama City. A multi-year boom in Central Americas fastest-growing economy has unleashed a wave of development along the Bay of Panama. Environmentalists warn that the construction threatens one of the worlds richest ecosystems and the habitat for as many as 2 million North American shorebirds. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco) (Credit: AP)
PANAMA CITY, Panama (AP) — A flock of chocolate-brown sandpipers slips across the horizon as heavy trucks haul sand and cement to the future site of a golf course on once was a swath of mangroves along one of Central America’s most important migratory bird habitats.
A boom in Central America’s fastest-growing economy has unleashed a wave of development along the Bay of Panama and environmentalists say construction threatens the habitat for vast numbers of North American shorebirds and endangers many people who live close to the bay.
While the city is trying to block construction, the pro-business national government is trying to permanently shrink the area protected by an international treaty.
Panama’s government says it’s committed to protecting the bay, but adds that it must accommodate the inevitable spillover of development from Panama City.