Kanuku Mountains

Coordinates: 3°12′N 59°35′W / 3.200°N 59.583°W / 3.200; -59.583
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Kanuku Mountains
IUCN category VI (protected area with sustainable use of natural resources)
Kanuku Mountains as seen from Lethem
Map showing the location of Kanuku Mountains
Map showing the location of Kanuku Mountains
LocationUpper Takutu-Upper Essequibo, Guyana
Nearest cityLethem
Coordinates3°12′N 59°35′W / 3.200°N 59.583°W / 3.200; -59.583
Area6,110 km2 (2,360 sq mi)[1]
Governing bodyProtected Areas Trust

The Kanuku Mountains are a group of mountains in Guyana, located in the Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo region. The name means 'forest' in the Wapishana language, a reference to the rich diversity of wildlife found there. The Eastern Kanuku Mountains and the Western Kanuku Mountains are separated by the Rupununi River. In 2011, the mountains were designated National Protected Area.


The lowland forests sustain 53% of all the known bird species in Guyana, and about 70% of all mammals found in Guyana, live in the Kanuku Mountains.[2] Prominent species include the Giant otter, the Harpy eagle and the Arapaima.[2] The highest peak of the Kanuku Mountains rises to 1,067 metres while the savannah area varies between 120 and 150 metres.[2]

In 2010, concern for the fate of the wildlife of the Kanuku Mountains was raised by the completion of the Takutu River Bridge and matching road system linking coastal Guyana with the interior and the Brazilian frontier. The road passes close to the Kanukus and is a potential source of unsustainable resource exploitation.[3]

In 2011, the mainly uninhabited area was protected, and designated a National Protected Area.[4] It is being maintained by the Kanuku Mountains Project.[5] The conservation area measures 611,000 hectares (6,110 km2).[6] The area around the mountains is inhabited by the Macushi and Wapishana people in 21 communities who use the resources of mountains for their subsistence living.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Guyana: Protected Area Profile: The Kanuku Mountains Protected Area (KMPA) – 'Mountains of Life'". Guyanese Online. Retrieved 28 February 2021.
  2. ^ a b c Hallett, Matthew T.; Kinahan, Anouska A.; McGregor, Rayon; Baggallay, Thadaigh; Babb, Timothy; Barnabus, Howard; Wilson, Asaph; Li, Fernando M.; Boone, Wesley W.; Bankovich, Brittany A. (8 November 2019). "Impact of Low-Intensity Hunting on Game Species in and Around the Kanuku Mountains Protected Area, Guyana". Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. 7. doi:10.3389/fevo.2019.00412. S2CID 207958426.
  3. ^ "1991 Guyana West Kanukus RAP" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-12-21.
  4. ^ Protected Areas Commission 2015, V.
  5. ^ "Kanuku Mountains Project". Frankfurt Zoological Society. Retrieved 30 August 2020.
  6. ^ Protected Areas Commission 2015, p. 3.
  7. ^ Protected Areas Commission 2015, p. 1.