The Protected Areas Commission (PAC) on Wednesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with international conservation organisation, Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS) to aid in elevating its protected area system.
Chairman of the Board of the PAC, Robert Persaud explained that the MoU is to allow the Commission to develop the capacity whereby it can leverage more financial support in managing the country’s existing protected area system, particularly in the Kanuku Mountain.
Containing more than 6,000 square kilometers of primary rainforest, rock formations rising up to 1,300 meters in height, waterfalls and countless caves, the Kanuku Mountains region in the south of the country represents a unique area, most of which is largely unexplored.
The wildlife extends from the goliath bird spider, arapaima fish, oilbird, and harpy eagle through to the jaguar and giant anteater. It is difficult to imagine a more impressive variety. In 2011, the Kanuku Mountains were declared a protected area.
As pressure on surrounding natural areas increases, so does the importance of protecting the Kanuku Mountains as a refuge for rare and endangered species.
“Our target of 30% of our marine as well as land space to be considered protected areas, we also would need some capacity building in this regard, and partnering with Frankfurt Zoological Society allows us to develop that partnership to get that type of support…to build up our ability to properly manage our protected area system,” Persaud noted.
“We have a very aggressive approach in terms of reaching out, collaborating and engaging our partners. Because we want to develop a world-class protected area system…”
According to FZS website, it supports the Kanuku Mountains by helping the PAC with setting up and training a small team of rangers in the Kanuku Mountains and assisting with field-based activities; helping planning and supervising the construction of control posts out in the field together with the Protected Areas Commission rangers; organizing, carrying out, and documenting ranger patrols; and regular analysis of high-resolution satellite data for early detection of illegal activities.
During Persaud’s keynote address during the signing ceremony, he highlighted that the country’s environmental sector has had a lot of recognition from international partners.
“Today, we’re not only known as the newest oil producer but also as one of the newest countries… perhaps one of the first being able to deploy its jurisdictional carbon credits and earn money for the development of our country.”
The FZS had first signed a MoU in 2015 to provide Guyana with financial and technical support for the development of the country’s protected area system.
Two experts from the FZS group were tasked with advising the PAC on setting up the conservation area system, lending support to establish administrative and monitoring systems for the Kanuku Mountains, the crafting of monitoring plans and biodiversity surveys and liaising with representatives of other interest groups.