STIHL helps caimans and humans alike in Guyana

In Guyana, STIHL supports the Caiman House Field Station research project. It provides help to the alligators and the inhabitants of the small village Yupukari.

A caiman being examined at Rupununi River in Guyana.

A caiman being examined at Rupununi River in Guyana.

The Caiman House Field Station research project

The air is whirring and shimmering: thousands of tiny insects buzz as light sports around ears, nose and mouth, attracted by the glow of the lamp. The cone of light reveals a black caiman, motionless, its eyes wide open. Its snout is tied up with adhesive tape; the caiman is defenceless without its sharp teeth. The scene is so surreal that you have to rub your eyes.
Andrew Mendes, the general manager of the STIHL agency Farfan & Mendes Ltd. is standing on a sandbank in Rupununi River in the interior of Guyana, together with Matt Hallet, a biologist at the research station in Yupukari and Fernando Li, the manager of Caiman House Field Station. Matt Hallet turns the caiman on its back. Fernando Li lends a helping hand. The animal, two and a half metres in length, is measured, examined and weighed, while tied up like a parcel. A small radio transmitter is attached to its tail before Matt loosens its fetters. A moment of shock and then the caiman pushes himself away from the bank and disappears into the dark river.

Evening boat trips, red eyes that shining out of the dark on the water. Caimans that are localised, captured and chipped by radio transmitter: such scenes are commonplace at the research project on the Rupununi for which STIHL has assumed a year-long sponsorship together with our agency in Guyana which had started in March 2016. The project was launched in 2005 and has set itself the goal of recording the caiman population around Yupukari village and analysing the data scientifically.

After being examined on the sandbank, the caiman is allowed to go back into the water.

After being examined on the sandbank, the caiman is allowed to go back into the water.

Nature conservation and support for villagers

A nice side benefit: Thereby the Yupukari village and “Caiman House”, a guest house and base station for researchers, become a destination for eco-tourists and other interested people. The project itself and the associated tourist activities yield an additional income for one-fifth of the population of Yupukari. It enables the people who otherwise work as farmers, hunters and fishers, to send their children to school or expand their farms. And they gain important insights into the habits of the black caiman, the largest predator, with which they share their living space along the river. This makes it possible to avoid confrontations with these animals, which are extremely dangerous to humans, but also threatened with extinction.

STIHL chainsaws and our agency Farfan & Mendes Ltd. are very well known in Guyana. The villagers therefore feel themselves honoured by the support they and their project receive. Thereby STIHL does not only contribute the continuation of the research but also help towards a valuable contribution for the protection of black caimans and to the sustainable development of a village community in the interior of Guyana.

Mounting of the sponsors’ logo on Caiman House Field Station. The STIHL agency Farfan & Mendes Ltd. was present there.

Mounting of the sponsors’ logo on Caiman House Field Station. The STIHL agency Farfan & Mendes Ltd. was present there.

If you would like to learn more about the project, Yupukari village or the nature along the Rupununi, please go to www.rupununilearners.org or Rupununi Learners Facebook page for a wealth of pictures and information.

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