French Guiana: World Endangered Species Day

The red panda, the manta ray, the polar bear, endangered animals on planet Earth. More than 20,000 species of plants and animals are in imminent danger of extinction each year, according to a study by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Guyana is not spared by this global phenomenon.

The fauna of Guyana has more than 1,500 species of vertebrates. The inventory carried out shows that 166 of them are threatened. The Guyana dolphin Sotalia Guianensis, is an endangered species, the freshwater fish, the Harttiella pilosa is downright a critically endangered species, that is to say, this species is exposed to imminent extinction.

The Red List of Threatened Species is a fundamental document for the preservation of biodiversity.

This project was supported locally by DEAL Guyane, and implemented by the reference structures of the department. This assessment dynamic is part of the Red List of Threatened Species in France, supported by the IUCN and the National Museum of Natural History.

bearded tyrant


  • For birds in Guyana, it appears that the Bearded Tyrannulet (Polystictus pectoralis) is a species exposed to imminent extinction, it is the last level of risk before the extinction of the species in the wild.

This emblematic bird of dry savannahs is directly affected by threats linked to its environment, the use of savannahs for agriculture, livestock breeding and urbanization. The Giant Snipe, the Eastern Meadowlark or the Yellowish Pipit are species, all classified as “Critically Endangered” in French Guiana.

Cryptonanus nov. Sp


Among the marsupials, the genus Cryptonanus includes five living species. All very small and weighing from 5 to 40 grams, these species are particularly poorly known. Cryptonanus nov. Sp, is an endangered species.

ground tapir, Tapirus terrestris


The ground tapir, Tapirus terrestris, is a species well known to Guyanese, and according to the IUCN website, this species is in the vulnerable zone. Despite the ban on its marketing and the recent establishment of quotas, the species is essentially threatened by hunting. The harvest rates observed, including in traditional hunting, regularly exceed the maximum rates considered sustainable.

west indian manatee


  • The Antillean manatee is classified as “endangered” in Guyana.

Because of its fragility and its emblematic character, the manatee is a mysterious animal, which has great cultural importance within the various traditional communities of Guyana. The main threats to this species are accidental catches in coastal fishing nets and occasional poaching for its meat. In some areas, it is also likely affected by shipping traffic and water quality, which may help limit its abundance.

Guiana dolphins

The Guiana dolphin Sotalia guianensis

  • The Guyana dolphin, has a sedentary character, is classified in the category “Endangered“Accidental catches in fishing nets are the main cause of death for animals found stranded in Guyana. On average, there is one stranding every two months. Sotalie is also threatened by the degradation of its habitats due to waste water discharges, inputs used in agriculture and gold panning.
2021, an exceptional vintage for olive trees and lutes on the beaches of the island of Cayenne

When they come ashore, leatherback turtles fall victim to coastal nets and suffer degradation of their nesting sites caused by urban development.

©Celine AMORAVAIN Association KWATA

leatherback turtle, Dermochelys coriacea

  • The emblematic leatherback turtle, much appreciated by the local population and tourists, is classified as a “vulnerable situation”, according to the IUCN Red List (International Union for the Conservation of Nature). Accidental captures are responsible for most of the decline in its populations. When they come ashore to lay eggs, leatherback turtles are victims of coastal nets. They also experience degradation of their nesting sites due to urban development. Eggs are particularly exposed to stray dogs, as are hatchlings, which are also sensitive to light pollution.

Crotalus durissus

©Audric Broux

  • South American Rattlesnake Crotalus durissus

The South American Rattlesnake is an endangered species in Guyana. This snake resides mainly in the savannahs of the western coast. These areas represent less than 0.3% of Guyanese territory. The South American Rattlesnake is threatened by frequent fires in the dry season and by the degradation of its natural habitats due to human pressures. He is also the victim of crushing on the roads and voluntary destruction. Only “the Amana nature reserve” and the prohibited natural zone of the Guiana Space Center represent islets of refuge for this listed species.

  • Cayenne’s turtle Podocnemis unifilis

This species is in a vulnerable situation. It is the only river turtle in the strict sense, entirely dependent on hydrological cycles. In Guyana, the species is restricted to the east of the department. This turtle is experiencing a marked decline in its populations across its entire range, due to egg collection and habitat loss through gold mining and deforestation. In our department, the species is subject to full regulatory protection.

Harttiella pilosa

©Antoine Baglan

  • Harttiella pilosais a species of fish, classified as “critically endangered”. This species evolves, in an environment characterized by running water, a rocky substrate, supplemented with plant debris. This fish evolves in a particular biotope, making it particularly vulnerable to any disturbance of its environment. The habitat of this species is also under pressure from gold panning, threatened by the development of alluvial mining sites.
  • A vulnerable amphibian

Granville’s Anomaloglossus, Anomaloglossus degranvillei, is a small, terrestrial, diurnal amphibian. The causes of this regression of amphibians are currently unexplained. This species occupies very stable environments in terms of temperature and humidity. A hypothesis advanced, this amphibian could thus be sensitive to disturbances, even slight, of its environment. Infection with the pathogenic fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, known to be responsible for particularly severe declines in other amphibian species living in similar environments in Central America, the Andes and Australia, could also be involved.

No Red List currently exists for invertebrates (eg insects), nor for plants, among which there are many endangered species.

GEPOG has largely contributed to the development of these regional Red Lists, including for the other faunal groups.

Guyana Regional Natural Park


In French Guiana, various pressures weigh on wildlife species and their natural habitats. The draining and filling of wetlands and the clearing of coastal forests also reduce the natural habitat of species. Hunting is another pressure on the target species.

166 espèces de la faune de Guyane identifiées comme menacées

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