Cornered between the Western Kanuku Mountains and Brazil, in the dusty frontier town of Lethem, we were suspended between our recent RAP adventures and returning to our "real lives". Usually when a scientific expedition ends, participants are eager to escape back to their institutions, emails, and families – possibly even to start planning their next scientific project. But what good is a RAP without any results to pass on?! So instead of going home, we're now engaged in a "Report Writing Retreat" and the entire RAP team is being kept hostage in a one-horse town with a bunch of computers, but no wildlife or friends and family – and therefore no distractions.
|Jan and Justin use books |
and photos to identify
Wilmer ensconced himself in his room to write up the botany report. Olivier took over the guesthouse living room and turned it into an insect paradise, reviewing the number of butterfly and dragonfly species. Burton camped out in the kitchen to be near the coffee and go over the small mammal data. Jan and Justin use a stack of books and color photos to identify the remaining large fishes. Jim found a computer at the nearby CI-Lethem office.
This RAP has been especially international: 5 experts from Venezuela, Suriname, Belgium, Canada and the USA paired up with 5 Guyanan students. It has also been exceptionally short: 9 sampling days, as opposed to 22 sampling days in the 1993 RAP to the Western Kanukus. Short, but very productive, as the area seems quite diverse.
ACTIVITY: Try your own rapid assessment on the biodiversity in your area.
So far, the most exciting result is that when you add the bat species, Burton found on this RAP, to the list of bat species already known to exist in the Kanuku Mountains, RAP scientists have shown the Kanukus to have the highest bat diversity in the world. This usurps the Iwokrama forest, also in Guyana. Pretty cool!
|Sunset in Lethem. |
But the real success lies in the Guyanan students trained in RAP methods who can now carry out similar biological investigations to help save biodiversity in the amazing wilderness of Guyana.
SPECIES: See the plants of the Kanuku Mountains, Guyana.
As they say in Guyana: "It was a mighty experience." A mighty RAP. And a mighty Expedition.
REPORT: Read about the recorded discoveries from our expedition in the Kanuku Mountains of Guyana.
I hope you've enjoyed following the fun!
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