Guyana - Nature and Wildlife
With high rainforests that span approximately three quarters of Guyana’s land area, it hosts one of the highest levels of biodiversity in the world. Guyana’s rainforest is one of only a few on the planet that has not been damaged by human interference. The country is home to more than a thousand species of trees and approximately 8,000 plant species, half of which are endemic to the country. Mangroves and saltwater grasses characterize much of the country’s coastline.
Guyana is equally diverse when it comes to wildlife which is varied and abundant. Birdlife is particularly plentiful in the country with some 1,600 bird species recorded. Of these 1,600, approximately half are endemic to Guyana. It is birds that are the most often spotted of Guyana’s wildlife including kingfishers, macaws, scarlet ibis and hummingbirds. The national bird of Guyana is the hoatzan, a very primitive looking bird. A distinctive bird, the hoatzan rarely flies and can be found along the Berbice river.
Throughout Guyana there have been over 200 mammal species found. Of these, the tapir is the largest land animal while the jaguar is the largest of the cats. Sloths, giant anteaters, armadillos, giant otters and capybaras also call Guyana home. Monkeys and deer are the most common of Guyana’s mammals to be seen. The country’s coastline hosts sharks and stingrays as well as manatees.
Some of Guyana’s most famous sites include Kaieteur Falls and Mount Roraima. Located in Kaieteur National Park, the falls are 226 m (741 ft) high and 122 m (400 ft wide). A single drop waterfall, the falls are some of the most powerful in the world with an average flow rate of 663 cubic metres per second (23,400 cubic feet per second). It remains one of Guyana’s most popular tourist destinations. Mount Roraima, the highest peak in the country, served as the inspiration Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World. Many of the species found here are unique to the area and is a popular destination for backpackers.
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