Research on giant anteaters in Guyana condensed in storybook for kids


In order to get younger minds interested in conservation activities, the South Rupununi Conservation Society (SRCS) has launched a storybook for children containing information from its recent research on giant anteaters in Guyana.

The book, called “Mawuusa and the Giant Anteater – Experiences, Beliefs and Research from the South Rupununi, Guyana”, currently has 300 copies and is being distributed to children of the Rupununi.

It tells the tale of a young girl from Katoonarib Village called Mawuusa who wants to learn more about giant anteaters in Guyana and it contains scientific facts based on research conducted by the SRCS since 2019.

According to the Programme Coordinator of the SRCS, Neal Millar, after realising that not much information was available on the giant anteater population in Guyana, his organisation applied for and received a grant to conduct the necessary research.

“So, prior to 2019, there had never been any research or studies done concerning giant anteaters in Guyana. You can only find giant anteaters in South America. So, our organisation…received financing…support from Sustainable Wildlife Management Programme and SGP Guyana, and with their support, we were able to conduct research in four communities.”

These communities are Katoonarib Village, Sawariwau Village, Shulinab Village, and Wariwauto. Residents of these communities were trained in a number of areas including to set up camera traps at various locations to monitor the giant anteater population.

“In addition to camera trap work, we also did household surveys…to ask questions about giant anteaters, what threats they think they face, where do they commonly see them. We also asked them to collect traditional data and stories because for years and years, indigenous people have lived alongside their wildlife and they have a lot of cultural beliefs about different species and their uses.”

Upon completion of their research, the SRCS wanted an easier way to disseminate information to children, hence the idea of the storybook was born.

“We wanted an easy way to disseminate information to children because for them to read like a report or scientific publication, it’s very boring and they probably wouldn’t read it…so instead, we condensed the information, we simplified it and we turned it into the story of a young girl called Mawuusa,” Millar explained, noting that Mawuusa means “beautiful” in the Wapishana language.

The lead author of the book is Erin Earl, who is also the giant anteater program coordinator at the SRCS and a member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
The information in the book combines local stories and beliefs with scientific results and conservation activities that were all collected through the SRCS.

Persons interested in receiving copies of the books can express their interest in email to: [email protected]