Location: Although a South American
country, Guyana very much looks to the Caribbean. It's borders are
disputed with Venezuela and Suriname.
Black caiman are endangered and almost extinct
throughout almost their formerly huge Amazonian range, being hunted
for skins by Brazilian poachers for years. However they are still
present in large numbers in two locations, the Kaw Swamps in French
Guiana (where they are now being hunted) and on the Rupununi River
in Guyana. For the people of the Rupununi the fact that the large
crocodilian living alongside them is a rare and endangered species
is of little interest, they consider this large 20ft (6m) predator
a dangerous menace when it kills valuable hunting dogs, children
and even adults. Families are left to mourn lost loved ones with
no bodies to bury, and some river people have to grow up, their
lives and bodies scarred by encounters with black caiman. Mark fervently
believes in the conservation of the remaining crocodilians but plainly
the Rupununi black caiman are not the endangered species here, it
is the besieged human population that is at most risk. How can he
equate his concern for the future of the black caiman with the heart-rending
stories he hears from the river folk ? Can man and caiman live alongside
each other without fear or danger ?
A close view of a 10ft (3m) Black
caiman (Melanosuchus niger), note the raised vertebral ridge on
||South American toad
||Striped savanna bullfrog
||AFRO-AMERICAN SIDE-NECK TURTLES
||Yellow-headed river turtle
||ALLIGATORS & CAIMAN
||Cosmopolitan house gecko
|Iguana iguana iguana
||South American green iguana
|Ameiva ameiva ameiva
||LAVA & TREE LIZARDS
||Amazonian tree boa
Location: The Rupununi and southern Essequibo Rivers are home to
large populations of Black caiman, Giant river otters and piranha.
The Rupununi River is a last stronghold for the threatened Black
Caiman (Melanosuchus niger).
Black caiman are commonly seen basking on the river bank but they
quickly head for the water.
O'Shea caught two large Black caiman, this 10ft (3m) specimen and
another measuring 12ft (4m).
Juvenile Black caiman find security in numbers in creches in the