Parque Nacional San Lorenzo Canopy Crane (a.k.a. SHERMAN)

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Incident Commanders

In order to reach the site, you will need to obtain a copy of the key of the padlock that controls the access to the dirt road leading to the crane site from the Crane Program Coordinator, Argelis Ruiz (212-8242 or 6613-2564 or by sending an e-mail to

Sherman, located approximately 100 km north of Panama City, is a remote field station that hosts one of STRI's crane facilities. This field station was conceived to conduct research in a wet evergreen forest at Parque Nacional San Lorenzo on the Caribbean coast of Panama. The Sherman crane is 52 meters tall with a radius of 54 meters, and can reach approximately 180 species of trees and lianas.

The station has one caretaker 24 hrs/day, 365 days/year. There is limited electrical supply consisting of two solar panels, no potable water, a generator to power the crane, first aid equipment, communication via radio and limited cell phone capability. For the use of the caretaker, there is a small All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) available.

There is a helipad next to the facility that could be used in case of emergencies. Nevertheless, medical air evacuations are possible only in daylight hours and there is a radio base at the housing facility. The caretaker and the crane operator carry portable radios that could be used during emergencies.

Additional Security and Safety Information

In addition to the security information on Panama in general and STRI's security and safety policies, the following applies to Sherman.

  • The crane research area used to be a military training area; therefore, it is imperative for all researchers to be aware of the possibility of encountering unexploded live ordinance. If you find something you suspect may be unexploded ordinance DO NOT TOUCH IT, MARK ITS LOCATION (GPS) and INFORM THE CARETAKER AND/OR THE STRI SECURITY OFFICE AT ONCE (212-8911).
  • Aquatic activities - Swimming in the nearby ponds, lakes or rivers is prohibited due to boating activities, the presence of crocodiles and dense aquatic vegetation.
  • Snakes Bites -
    • Stay calm. (There are cases when the snake bites but it does not inoculates venom).
    • Call for help (212-8911 or 212-8211).
    • Avoid unnecessary movements (i.e. Do not walk, nor run, nor do any strenuous movements that will speed your blood circulation).
    • Wash the wound with plain water and cover it with a loose bandage to avoid infection.
    • You will need to get transported by stretcher (if in a remote area) or by ambulance to the nearest public hospital: Hospital Amador Guerrero (Colón 475-2214, 475-2211, 475-2212).
  • Medical facilities - There is a first aid kit and an automatic external defibrillator (AED) at the station. The Sherman facility is a remote field station where medical facilities are not readily available. To receive medical attention, you need to travel to Colón. There are two private hospitals (Hospital 4 Altos and the Centro Médico Caribe) and one pubic hospital (Hospital Amador Guerrero) in the Colon area. In case of a medical emergency, it will take no less than 30 minutes to reach the main road to Costa Abajo, Colón and 10 more minutes to reach the Gatun Locks. Any medical situation can also be called in and consulted with a doctor by calling 279-3111 and identifying yourself as a STRI collaborator.
  • Drinking water - Water at the facility is generally clean RAW WATER NOT 100% safe to drink; however, it is piped to the supplies bathrooms, showers and sinks, and is useful for washing clothes. Bring your own drinking water.
  • Dangerous fauna - Consult the crane program administrator about any dangerous fauna that could be encountered such as snakes, felines, African bees and other insects that carry tropical diseases.
  • Criminal activities in the area - Close encounters with poachers and an assault have been reported in the past.
  • Transportation Limitations - The crane facility is accessed via a 7 km dirt road. A 4wd vehicle is needed to travel this road.
    • Emergency Information

      • STRI Headquarters Security Guard Booth 212-8911/212-8211
      • Incident Commanders

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