The gift of a giant otter in the mid‐1980s resulted in Diane McTurk establishing the Rupununi’s first conservation project at Karanambu in 1985. Karanambu would establish “The Karanambu Trust (1997)”, creating Guyana’s first private protected area, pioneering people‐focused conservation, and championing education, inclusion, and local participation in protecting the North Rupununi Wetlands and its inhabitants. As a result, Karanambu is today synonymous with the rescue, reintroduction, and recovery of giant otter populations in Guyana and was instrumental in preserving critical habitats which have aided in reversing the decline in wild populations of Jaguar, Giant Anteaters, Black Caiman, and Arapaima. Karanambu is widely respected as a leader in eco‐tourism and the inspiration for several conservation and community tourism projects. The impacts of this have transformed the Rupununi into the national capital for conservation and sustainable tourism, a model for indigenous development and gender inclusion, and the fastest‐growing economy in the hinterland of Guyana.
Keywords: wildlife protection ; eco-tourism, otter, conservation