VAL­LEY OF THE GIANTS

Home to some of the world’s largest species, this stun­ning cor­ner of South Amer­ica is the per­fect des­ti­na­tion for na­ture-lovers and bird-watch­ers alike

BBC Wildlife Magazine - - Wild News -

With a di­verse land­scape of sway­ing sa­van­nahs, lush rain­for­est, cas­cad­ing wa­ter­falls and mighty rivers, Guyana is a truly breath­tak­ing slice of par­adise. But what’s so sur­pris­ing about this small South Amer­i­can coun­try is that in an age of mass tourism, it re­mains largely undis­cov­ered.

Guyana’s in­cred­i­ble wilder­ness is team­ing with an abun­dance of na­tive flora and fauna, in­clud­ing more than 900 mi­grant and res­i­dent birds. As jaguars roam, harpy ea­gles soar over­head and howler mon­keys can be heard echo­ing through­out the rain­for­est – if you’re seek­ing na­ture and ad­ven­ture, you won’t be dis­ap­pointed here.

A pow­er­ful preda­tor

Lurk­ing in fresh­wa­ter habi­tats, the Black Caiman is the largest preda­tor in the Ama­zon eco-sys­tem, and a gi­ant of the rep­tile fam­ily, grow­ing up to six me­tres in length. With its black scaly skin, marked with pale yel­low or white band­ing across the body, and dis­tinc­tive red eyes, it’s easy to spot as it pa­trols the slow­mov­ing rivers and lakes.

This enor­mous rep­tile will take any bird, fish or mam­mal that comes within range – its teeth are de­signed to grab rather than rip, so it drowns its prey be­fore swal­low­ing it whole. It has no preda­tors other than man, who al­most hunted it to ex­tinc­tion for its meat and leather, but now it’s mak­ing a come­back, thanks to its con­ser­va­tion-de­pen­dent sta­tus, al­low­ing vis­i­tors to Guyana to see this mag­nif­i­cent crea­ture in its nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment once again.

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