There are still an estimated 8.7 million species of animals across the globe, although many have become extinct over time.
These creatures differ from one another not just by belonging to different families and species but also by their favored environments.
Hence, location and preferred environment can aid in distinguishing between distinct animal species.
As a result, some animals only inhabit particular nations.
Officially the Co‑operative Republic of Guyana, Guyana is a relatively small country in South America.
The land has three main geographical zones: the coastal plain, the white sand belt, and the interior highlands, home to several species.
This article discusses some animals in Guyana that are facing endangerment.
Keep reading to find out about them.
3. Giant Otter
Otherwise called the giant river otter, the giant otter (Pteronura brasiliensis) is the lengthiest member of the weasel family found in South America.
One of the most important populations of giant otters is in Guyana, a small country on the northern coast of South America, home to an incredible array of biodiversity.
While being generally calm, the species is territorial, and fighting between groups has been seen.
The giant otter is the largest otter species, measuring almost six feet and weighing as much as 70 pounds.
Its sleek, dense fur is chocolate brown with a cream-colored throat and chest, and its powerful webbed feet allow it to swim easily.
Giant otters are incredibly social animals and live in family groups of up to eight individuals, with a dominant breeding pair at the center.
In Guyana, giant otters inhabit various habitats, including rivers, wetlands, savannah grasslands, and forests.
They are apex predators, feeding on fish, crustaceans, and even small caimans.
These otters face several threats to their survival, including habitat loss, hunting, and pollution.
Many rivers and wetlands where they live are affected by human activities such as gold mining and logging, which can lead to increased sedimentation, erosion, and pollution.
Hunting is also a problem, as giant otters are sometimes killed for their fur or as perceived competitors to fishermen.
2. Leatherback Turtle
The leatherback turtle, scientifically known as Dermochelys coriacea, is a majestic and endangered marine creature found in the coastal waters of Guyana.
This species is the largest of all living sea turtles and is the only one without a bony shell.
Leatherback turtles have been swimming in the Earth’s oceans for over 100 million years but now face many threats that put their survival at risk.
The leatherback has several characteristics that distinguish it from other sea turtles.
Instead of a regular shell, this species has flexible and rubbery skin with a mosaic of bony plates that give it its characteristic leather-like appearance.
The entire dorsal area of the turtle has a dark gray to black color with sporadic white markings and spots.
Adults weigh 550 to 1,540 pounds and are as long as seven feet.
Leatherback turtles are a keystone species because they feed on jellyfish and other soft-bodied invertebrates, helping to control their populations and maintain the balance of the marine food chain.
Unfortunately, the leatherback turtle population in Guyana, as well as worldwide, is critically endangered.
One of the primary threats facing leatherback turtles is habitat loss and degradation.
Beaches, where they nest, are often destroyed or altered by human development, and the lighting from buildings and streetlights can disorient hatchlings as they try to make their way to the ocean, leading to their death.
1. Red Siskin
The red siskin (Spinus cucullatus) is a small, brightly colored bird species endemic to South America.
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN, the red siskin is endangered.
One of the countries where it inhabits is Guyana, located on the northeastern coast of South America.
The red siskin is known for its striking red plumage and black markings; the black markings are typical in males, while females have gray markings.
The species is usually found in forests and forest edges, as well as in secondary growth and scrubland.
It is a social bird, often found in small flocks of up to 20 individuals.
The red siskin has played an important cultural and economic role in Guyana for centuries.
Historically, its feathers were significant to the indigenous Amerindian tribes, who used them for decoration and rituals.
The red siskin has become a sought-after bird in the pet trade due to its striking appearance.
As a result of this, the population has significantly decreased because the birds are illegally trapped and sold.
There are 250-300 red siskins in the wild in Guyana, making it one of the rarest birds in the country.