Conservation International Guyana, at the request of the Government of Guyana, and in collaboration with the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs, the Environmental Protection Agency, the 18 communities that surround the mountains, the Regional Government and state land-use agencies, has been involved in preliminary work for the establishment of a protected area in the Kanuku Mountains. The process has seen inclusive participation of all stakeholders. Work on the delineation of the boundaries of the Proposed Kanuku Mountains protected area (KMPA) has been completed and the management planning process started with funding support from Conservation International and the German Bank (KfW).
The Kanuku Mountains, approximately 5000 km2 in area, are located in the heart of the Rupununi Savannahs in south-western Guyana and is the most ecologically diverse area in Guyana. The Kanukus contain habitats as diverse as gallery forests, lowland forests and montane evergreen forests and savannah, and is home to 70% of all mammals and 53% of all birds known to exist in Guyana. At least five of the South American giants live in the Kanuku Mountains — the Harpy Eagle, Black Caiman, Giant River Otter, Arapaima fish and the Giant Anteater. The Macushi and Wapishana peoples make up the 7,144 persons (2002) who live in communities in or near to the Kanuku Mountains, caring and wisely using the resources in the traditional way. However, there are several threats to biodiversity and to the integrity of the area.
In recognition of the global biodiversity value and the emerging threats, CI-Guyana has been engaging the relevant stakeholders including the nearby communities to establish a protected area in the Kanuku Mountains, where the rights and traditions of the indigenous communities will be respected, while a balance of sustainable use and conservation, will be applied to allow for future generations to benefit from the resources of the Mountains.
The Kanuku Mountain Community Representative Group
The Kanuku Mountain Community Representative Group (KMCRG) is the representative body of all 18 communities that are part of the KMPA process. The role of the KMCRG is to represent the communities and to advise and collaborate with the other key stakeholders on behalf of the communities.
Delineation of the Boundaries of the Kanuku Mountains Protected Area
Delineation of the proposed Kanuku Mountains protected area boundaries was a fully consultative and participatory process where CI-Guyana is working with the CRG, the communities and various agencies of the State that has responsibility for natural resources, the environment and the affairs of the Amerindian people. At the end of this exercise the proposed boundary delineation for the Kanuku Mountain Protected Area was submitted to the Government of Guyana for their consideration.
The next step in the Process is the drafting of the Management Plan where a fully participatory methodology is also being used.