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The Guyana Marine Conservation Society (GMCS) has commenced a research project to investigate the prevalence of medium and large-bodied mammals in the Barima-Mora passage, home to Guyana’s most intact mangrove ecosystems.
These mangroves are home to endangered animal and bird species and provide vital ecosystem services, including coastal shields, protection of biological diversity, forest products, and carbon sequestering, a process critical in the fight against climate change, GMCS said in a press release.
According to the society despite their benefits, mangroves are under severe threat in Guyana. “Increased population in coastal areas has led to the conversion of many mangrove areas for other uses and increased demand for wild meat, further endangering over half a dozen IUCN Red-listed animal species that live there. If mangroves are not protected and hunting for wild meat is not managed at sustainable levels, wildlife populations will decline, and rural communities will suffer increased food insecurity,” the GMCS said.
“Barima Mora is home to rich biodiversity and incredible indigenous culture,” says Annette Arnjoon, GMCS President is quoted in a release as saying, adding: “We must act to protect it to ensure it remains resilient to the threats of climate change.”
GMCS, with support from the German NGO ARA, and through International and National partnerships with The University of Florida, Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, The Rupununi Wildlife Research Unit and the Region 1 RDC, has embarked on research to assess the current state of medium and large mammals like peccaries, deer, agouti, jaguar, and howler monkeys at the Barima Mora Passage. The study will use camera traps to collect crucial data that will inform Guyana’s conservation efforts, contribute to the growing understanding of mammal species’ in region and in the country and serve as a vital input for the eventual goal of the Barima-Mora Passage being considered for inclusion as a World Heritage Site.
This project brings together a diverse group of scientists, researchers, indigenous communities and local government to generate critical data that will inform efforts to sustainably restore and conserve Guyana’s mangroves and thus contribute substantially to climate change mitigation. The team will also train community members in Region 1 on scientific tools and methods, creating opportunities for cross-cultural exchange and building a talent pool for future biodiversity surveys.