Leaving Guyana and her beautiful Rupununi behind is always the worst part of our trips. The friends that we make during each trip become more and more like family and the Rupununi starts to feel more and more like a second home. With each trip, the project gains positive momentum and with this momentum we, as a team, push forward with even more motivation and drive.
This was an especially positive and productive trip in terms of community impact. In the past, the Yupukari Wildlife Club played an important role in the lives of the village youth. Unfortunately, due to the lack of adult instruction and organization, the Wildlife Club in Yupukari went dormant. Russian Dorrick, the current Tousha (village leader), was an active member of the wildlife club all throughout his childhood and teenage years. We sit down with Russian, often on our trips, to discuss the critical role that conservation plays in the village. As a progressive leader, Russian recognizes the urgent need for actions that foster sustainability and promote long term conservation programs that protect species AND create jobs for his village. Save the Giants is fortunate to work with leaders like Russian, who back our project 100%. To honor this support, STGs makes the advice and suggestions given by village leaders and community members the focal point for future project decisions.
During our November trip, Russian asked us to come up with a way to rekindle the Yupukari Wildlife Club, sooooooo…..we launched our Conservation Super Hero Project to do just that!! On this trip, we focused on the village youth and gave them a chance to become part of the Save the Giants team. Our research boat became the “otter spotting” vessel and we loaded up as many kiddos as we could before sinking the ship. During other activities, we discussed the importance of giant otters in the eco-system. The children learned all about apex predators and the critical role they play in maintaining the delicate ecological balance of the Rupununi’s river systems.
With very little prompting, the kids decided that is was time to bring the Wildlife Club back to life! A meeting was held, officers were elected and plans were put in place for future meetings!
As we look towards the future of Save the Giants, we realize that the childrens’ passion and drive to protect their beloved wildlife, will be the driving forces behind the success of this project.
With the support from the Caiman House Board of Directors and the Village Council, Save the Giants is currently working on plans to build a science/discovery center for the children of Yupukari. The center will serve as a hub for scientific research and a central meeting place for the newly reinstated Wildlife Club. And OF COURSE, there will be an entire front room dedicated to the “Giant Otters of the Rupununi”!!! Stay tuned for exciting updates on the center, as well as building design concepts!
As with any project of this “nature” (lol), we will be searching high and low for donor support. Please send any and all recommendations for donor or grant opportunities our way!
Oh, and also…we REALLY want to build the kids a treehouse, with a birding observation deck!!!! If anyone out there with mad carpentry skills wants to jump onboard, then pack up your tools and come on!
Now, enjoy some wonderfully silly pics from the trip, visit our facebook page to see more. Thank you all for your continued and unwavering love and support.