By Tracey Khan – Drakes
[www.inewsguyana.com] – The Preliminary findings of two assessments were today presented to stakeholders by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) that was done in the Upper Potaro region in March.
It is expected to help with the implementation of key polices in keeping with Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) and to develop and protect both the mining and tourism sectors.
It documents the diversity of species recorded from the Kaieteur Park-including plants, bird and reptile species. The report highlights the Kaieteur National Park within a center of endemism with many species found only in the Pakaraima Mountains and a few know only from an extremely limited area around Kaieteur Falls.
Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, Robert Persaud said the Kaieteur National Park provides critical habitat for populations of many Guiana highland endemics and it is the only protected area in the eastern Guiana Highland.
He explained that the efforts being made are small but are significant and will help with the implementation of the LCDS, while at the same time takes into consideration the safety of the environment.
Achieving balance in terms of sustainable management of the tourism and mining sector is the focus of this study of which a report will be presented next year. It was recognized that the Park could be threatened if not properly managed and if they are not vigilant.
Improving the infrastructure and human resource capacity is also key in the Ministry’s efforts to attract more visitors. Last year in excess of 7,000 visitors, were at the Park and there has been an increase number of over land visit.
A tourism development strategy is also in the pipeline.
The Minister cautioned against vilifying legitimate upstream mining once it is in accordance with the mining regulations, but instead urged stakeholders to reach out and see how they can ensure mining and other activities do not have a negative effect on the community and tourism activities.
Meanwhile, Dominiek Plouvier, Regional Representative, WWF Guianas explained that the organization supports the LCDS, as he highlighted the major challenge that the organization is facing in promoting Guyana’s LCDS.
A number of recommendations were also made by the WWF which includes further protection of highlands, more research and monitoring for other species, better management and monitoring of eco tourism.