Area Covered 611,000 hectares
Date Established 2011
Location Upper Takatu-Upper Essequibo Region

Teeming with healthy populations of rare and endangered species, these rainforest-covered mountains are nestled in the heart of Guyana’s tropical savannahs. Its unusual combinations of forest, savannah, wetland and mixed habitats results in an explosion of wildlife. For instance, the Kanukus have the highest recorded bat diversity in the world with 89 species. The mountains also represent one of the few areas on the continent where rare Guiana Shield species mix with endangered Amazonian “giants”, including the Giant River Otter, Harpy Eagle, Giant Anteater, Black Caiman and Giant River Turtle. The Kanukus are also home to the Macushi and Wapishana people, who have traditionally depended on the mountains for food, water, shelter and medicines.

Found in Kanuku Mountains Protected Area

Photo Credit © Pete Oxford

Giant Anteater

The giant anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla) is the largest member of the four species of living anteaters. They feed in open savannah and rest in forested locations making both types of habitat critical for their survival. These anteaters are termite eating machines – their 2ft. long tongue captures as many as 35, 000 insects each day! Globally, giant anteaters are vulnerable to extinction but the Kanuku Mountains and Rupununi savannahs are one of the few remaining places where they can be found.

Photo Credit © Andrew Snyder

Yellow-spotted River Turtle

The river systems and water ways associated with the Kanuku Mountains also teem with life such as the yellow-spotted river turtle (Podocnemis unifilis) which is being raised in Yupukari Village for eventual release into the wild.

Photo Credit © Andrew Snyder

Dwarf Caiman

The dwarf caiman (Paleosuchus trigonatus) is among the smallest species of alligators, growing between 4 to 7 feet in length, which can be found in the water ways of the Kanuku Mountains. Its larger relative, the black caiman which can reach lengths of 16 feet, is more well-known.