The North Rupununi of southern Guyana is an extraordinary natural area. The landscape is an integration of four ecosystem types: wetlands, savannas, rivers, and forests. The number of species found here is much higher than expected given its size. There are at least 600 species of fish, along with 600 species of bird, and over 200 species of mammals. Karanambu is located roughly in the middle of this beautiful and fascinating biological hotspot. Endangered species like the Giant Otter, Black Caiman, Jaguar, Giant Anteater, and Arapaima—all apex predators—are abundant. The seasonally flooded savannas and forests also draw substantial fish migrations. This region is rich in history, too. The North Rupununi is the homeland of the Makushi and earlier peoples dating back almost 7,000 years ago. Several prominent explorers and naturalists have written about their experiences there, including Robert and Richard Schomburgk, Charles Waterton, Evelyn Waugh, Gerald Durrell, and David Attenborough. Lake Amuku, not far from Karanambu, was once considered by Sir Walter Raleigh, and later by Alexander von Humboldt, and others to be the location of Lake Parime or “El Dorado.”
Conservation and Sustainable Development
The effective management of the North Rupununi is of vital interest to local communities, as well as to the national government and international community. At present, there are a number of conservation organizations and eco-tourism companies based in the North Rupununi and there continues to be a substantial potential for expanded research and conservation in this area, as well as for eco-tourism and other sustainable development projects. Guyana's president is also leading the way in rethinking national approaches to address global warming through the development of a Low Carbon Development Strategy.
For more about the Rupununi read "Rupununi: Rediscovering a Lost World" by Graham Watkins with photographs by Peter Oxford and Renee Bish.
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