More than 30 new species of biodiversity found at the Kaieteur National Park.
Several new species of biodiversity have been discovered in the Kaieteur National Park even as scientists reiterated the importance of responsible mining. This is according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) which, on Thursday, launched its Kaieteur-Upper Potaro Biodiversity Assessment Survey Report.
The study was conducted within the taxa groups of mammals, birds, reptiles, plants, fish, insects and water quality. It was based on the second in a series of three expeditions, according to WWF’s Country Manager Aiesha Williams. She described the activity as successful due to the assistance from Chenapau resident who shared their expert knowledge of the landscape and the biodiversity.
She added that she expected the information to be used in a “positive manner to guide further research and to make informed decisions about land use good environmental governance, freshwater management and sustainable management of the regions natural resources.”
“The team also recorded more than thirty species likely new to science…including six species of fish, three plants and fifteen aquatic beetles and five odonates (large predatory aquatic insects)…Analysis are being done to be sure that they are actually new …so you may look out for some more details” she explained. Williams opined that, “This adds to the areas enormous conservation value, and if new species are still being recorded, there could be more.”
Williams noted that “This important landscape also provides important habitat for more than 50 percent of birds, 40 percent of odonates, 30 percent of mammals and even 43 percent of amphibians known to occur in Guyana. The species include many charismatic and globally threatened species such as the Jaguar the Golden Rocket Frog…the Guyana Cock of the Rock and the White Lipped Peccary.”
She also alluded to the area’s importance to the Patamona Tribe, “With such tremendous importance for nature and people, it is thus extremely important that the exploitation and other development activities such as mining and hydropower generation within this, is based on the principle of using natural resources well planned and in a sustainable manner.”
The event saw the scientists presenting their findings and sharing their expedition experiences. In addition to the species found, they expressed the belief that if more time was spent in the area more (species) could have been discovered.
Meanwhile, WWF Guyana’s Biodiversity Officer Juliana Persaud recommended that innovative steps be taken to reduce or eliminate the use of mercury for mining purposes. She also recommended long-term water quality monitoring in the region.
She also recommended that the promotion of alternative livelihoods and expanding tourism (by enhancing the visitor experience) by including the nearby community.
The expedition was possible due to cooperation the Chenapau Village, the Protected Areas’ Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency, the University of Guyana, the Global Wildlife Conservation and the Biodiversity Assessment Team comprising both local and international scientists.