RAP is made possible by the Smart Family Foundation and USAID.
WHO: An International Team of Scientists
A team of nine expert scientists from Belgium, Canada, Guyana, Suriname, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Venezuela will come together to implement the first all-taxa survey of the Eastern Kanuku Mountains. The experts will select and mentor six or seven biology students from Guyana during a training course held there right before the expedition. The students chosen will join our RAP expedition and form Guyana's own local RAP team. Our reporter Jensen will write dispatches back to us about the RAP activities from the Kanuku mountains.
FOLLOW ALONG: Read dispatches from the field.
RESULTS: Read about the recorded discoveries from our expedition in Guyana.
WHAT: Rapid Assessment Program (RAP) Expedition in Guyana
Scientists will comb the forest around the Rupununi and Rewa Rivers of southern Guyana to document the biodiversity of aquatic and terrestrial vegetation, birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, fish, as well as aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates.
LEARN MORE: What is a RAP expedition?
WHERE: Eastern Kanuku Mountains, Guyana, South America
The previous RAP carried out in Guyana in 1993 emphasized the biological importance of the Western Kanuku Mountains that provide habitats for rare and endangered species such as the giant river otter, black caiman, harpy eagle, jaguar, giant river turtle, and the giant armadillo. The Eastern Kanuku Mountains, little explored up to now by scientists, may be even more biologically significant. Our exact route through the Kanukus is yet to be determined and should be an exciting surprise!
MAP: View maps and satellite images of the study area.
WHEN: October 2001
We will arrive in the Kanuku Mountains just after the rainy season so the waters will be high enough to navigate the rivers but hopefully we will miss the dangerous flashfloods. We are also hoping that intermittent storms will keep it wet enough to still see many frogs and salamanders. We are packing lots of plastic bags and silica gel (a drying agent) to keep our fine electronic instruments functioning in the tropical humidity.
WHY: Survey the Kanuku Mountains
We will collect severely lacking preliminary biological data about the Rupununi and Rewa-Kwitaro rivers before conducting a more in-depth assessment later. We also want to provide biological and ecological information for the establishment of a proposed protected area system in the Kanuku Mountains. A RAP team of biologists in Guyana will continue to assess biodiversity to enable positive conservation decisions and actions over the long-term.
HOW: Life On Expedition
We head out as a team, by boat or by foot, for the day's scientific sampling. This may mean that we record bird and frog calls, work fishnets, trap mammals, or clip flowers from the very top of a tree. Each scientist follows the RAP methods that are specifically designed to reduce the impact on the environment, and maximize the short time we have to sample a large area.
LEARN MORE: Read about expedition life.