The average person does not get excited about dung beetles. But CI scientist Leeanne Alonso is not your average person. Leading a team of international scientists in a totally unexplored area of eastern Suriname, Alonso found many dung beetles, dazzling new frogs and an array of new and rediscovered fish species.
As part of our Rapid Assessment Program (RAP), CI and our partners were on location to document the diversity of life in the Lely and Nassau plateaus and the threats to species survival there.
Our survey results, and those from a 2005 RAP, are being used to help guide the decisions of mining companies in Suriname. In fact, two mining companies sponsored our expedition.
There are few places like Suriname left in the world. The country and its neighbors on the Guayana Shield are home to the largest expanse of undisturbed tropical rain forest on the planet. Nearly 20 percent of the world's water runs through this region. And it’s the pristine freshwater sources here that support the rich diversity of life we uncovered.
Staving Off A Killer
One of the frogs discovered is covered with stunning florescent purple markings. But what is more remarkable is what this frog didn’t have.
A fungus known as “chytrid” has decimated amphibian populations around the world. In fact, one-third of all amphibian species are at risk of extinction. The chytrid fungus is a major contributor of this decline and climate change may be a driving factor.
But the frogs we found showed no signs of the fungus, making this region an important laboratory for monitoring and staving off the killer fungus.
The Business of Science
We produce detailed reports on all of our RAPs, and present them to government officials, businesses and the public. Our partners in Suriname can use this information to guide their operations.
Sound science for smart conservation decisions.
Hunting and mining (both legal and illegal) pose long-term threats to Suriname’s pristine forests. CI will continue our work in the area to assist the Suriname government in making the best decisions for the long-term prosperity of its people and environment.