Overall, the survey recorded 467 species at the two sites, including large cats such as panther and puma, various monkeys, and a range of reptiles, amphibians, bats, birds, fish and insects indicative of the lush natural environment.
In their final report, the scientists call for improved conservation management of the region to address and halt threats from hunting and small-scale illegal mining. The report suggests that strategies should focus on protecting freshwater streams and preventing fragmentation of the natural habitat from unchecked or poorly planned development.
The Guayana Shield region contains the largest undisturbed tropical rainforest on the planet, a northern Amazon tract three times larger than the U.S. state of Texas (twice the size of Ethiopia) that is home to 100 indigenous groups. In Suriname, the only former Dutch colony in South America, the forests are at risk from foreign logging and other resource extraction.
Cutting and burning tropical forests worldwide contributes 20 percent of the total carbon emissions into the atmosphere, more than all the world’s cars and trucks, making conservation of the Amazon rainforest a crucial strategy for minimizing climate change. The burgeoning global carbon market creates new economic value for carbon stored in standing rainforest, providing fresh incentive for developing nations such as Suriname to avoid deforestation.