Fishing for species in the Konashen COCA, Guyana.
© Piotr Naskrecki
Within the Konashen Community Owned Conservation Area (COCA) in Guyana there is one community (Masakenari) made up mainly of members of the Wai-Wai indigenous group. The Wai-Wai utilizes the area for their sustenance and recognizes that their demands on their natural resources are increasing and must be managed sustainably. Back in 2006, they expressed interest in collaborating with Conservation International (CI) and the RAP program to conduct an inventory of the natural resources of the COCA.
DISPATCHES FROM THE FIELD: Follow along on expeditions the Guyana with our scientists virtually.
The data collected by the RAP survey participants which included a number of Wai-Wai parabiologists indicated that the forests were in very good condition and supported rich biodiversity. Water quality was high with no evidence of pollution. Typical of the forests of the Guayana Shield, the RAP team recorded high species diversity but low abundance levels of species of most groups and low number of endemic species (species found nowhere else). The potential for finding new taxa is high due to the lack of scientific exploration.
IN PHOTOS: Meet some of the species of the Konashen COCA, Guyana.
The results clearly supported the Wai-Wai’s decision to manage their area for conservation. To achieve their objectives the residents of Masakenari in the future will need to address such things as; the perceived threats (illegal mining, logging, trapping, etc.) presented by the development of roads in neighboring areas, and they will also have to conduct additional studies of the COCA to further document the species.
This species of catfish was found in a pristine river rich with many other fish species in the Acarai Mountains just north of the border between Guyana and Brazil.