The animal diversity at Iwokrama is estimated to be at least 200 mammals, 500 birds, 420 fish and 150 species of amphibians and reptiles. More than 30% of the animals are listed as endangered.
The list of animals is pretty impressive. In Iwokrama you can find:
World’s largest freshwater fish - Arapaima
World’s largest otter - Giant Otter
World's largest pit viper - Bushmaster
World's largest caiman - Black Caiman
World’s largest freshwater turtle - Giant River Turtle
World’s largest anteater - Giant Anteater
Americas' largest cat - Jaguar
S. America's largest bat - False Vampire Bat
S. America's largest eagle - Harpy Eagle
S. America's largest snake - Anaconda
Despite all those animals present, we only saw three red howler monkeys, various birds, frogs and reptiles.
This picture shows an armadillo hole.
This liana, called kufu, is the most expensive wood available in Guyana.
Iwokrama have been doing research into sustainable forests, and for that reason looked at whether it was preferable to use lianas for timber rather than traditional hardwood. It being an epiphyte, it was speculated that it might not do so much damage to the overall conept of the forest. The problem with lianas, is that after they are cut, they grow at twice the speed as they did before, and therefore were beginning to take over the forest at the detriment of other plants
We were really excited to see this large iguana in the undergrowth between the Field Station grounds and the river. He was a good four feet long! Fortunately he did stay still long enough to be photographed!
Although not a spectacular waterfall, as waterfalls go, it is, well, waht can I say......, a small trickle. The local people seem to be very proud of them though, as they took us to see them three times!
One of the activities that are arranged from the Field Station, is a boat trip accompanied by one or more rangers. Not only is the air cooler on the water, but you can spot many colourful birds from a boat.
Although we didn't see many mammals, we did see lots of beautiful butterflies, in many wonderful different colours, some very large indeed. One of my favourite butterflies is the Blue Morpho, but it never sat still long enough for me to take a photo! Shame!
At 630 miles, the Essequibo River is the longest river in Guyana and the largest river between the Amazon and the Orinoco. It's a tidal river with a difference of about 9 feet or more.
There are said to be 365 islands in the river, and numerous waterfalls. White Water canoeing is available, although we did not partake.
One of the most spectacular trees in the forest, is the mora tree. I love its giant buttresses which grow diagonally out from the lower trunk. When hit with something hard (like a boot or a stone), the tree emits a sound which gives resonance all over the forest. It is a good way of letting people know where you are if you are lost.
Arapaima is the most sought-after fish in South America. It is the world's largest freshwater fish and is found only in the Amazon and Essequibo Rivers. The fish can grow up to 10ft long and as a boneless fish, a single specimen can yield 100kg of meat. Although once the main income of the Macushi Amerindians in Iwokrama, the fishing of Arapaima is now illigeal in Guyana.
One the activties available at Iowkrama, is trekking with a ranger. There are several well-marked paths aound leading out form the Field Station and further afield.
Although many mammals are found in this area, we did not see many - only three red howler monkeys.
A short boat ride away from the Field Station, is the Amerindian Village of Fairview, also known as Kurupukari. 127 people live here in the village.
These petroglyphs are said to be 7000 years old, dating back to the Archaic period. They are found not far from the falls, and are only visible at low tide.
There are many different ants in this area, including the rather pesky fire ants. Ants nests take on huge proportions too, just look at this one that Arnold is standing in front of!
Another interesting tree found in these woods, is the Arula tree, also known as the "groovy tree" because of the deep groves found around its trunk.