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…in efforts to creating awareness about protected areas
By Lisa Hamilton
A 29-year-old British explorer, Lucy Shepherd, has embarked on an expedition in Guyana in uncharted land that will see her becoming the first British person to trek over 200km east to west across the Kanuku Mountains.
Shepherd travelled to Guyana in September and began the journey on October 1, 2021, in the company of five highly skilled indigenous Guyanese men. The area they will trek is a protected, unexplored, arduous and part of the Guiana Shield which is located in the ‘heart’ of Guyana.
Shepherd and her team received permission to embark on the journey and they are expected to complete it in December.
The expedition is endorsed by the Scientific Exploration Society and supported by Napkin Group. It is also supported by the Protection Areas Commission and the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs.
It is dedicated to the memory of Ian Craddock, the former Director of UK-based tour company Bushmasters, who died from a cardiac arrest in Lethem in 2020. For Shepherd, the expedition is also about creating awareness and celebrating protected wildernesses as well as empowering and inspiring persons to reach for their dreams.
“It’s a mammoth journey, one that has never been done before, let alone attempted. So, it is a big adventure,” she said in a video, sharing her plans.
“With this expedition, I want to achieve two things really. The first is to promote the need to protect our wild places. The Kanuku Mountains are a protected area, they wouldn’t be called the ‘mountains of life’ by the locals and have that same incredible biodiversity, without being protected. The second thing is, I want to empower and inspire.”
Helping to plan out the journey was Expedition Coordinator Anders Anderson who said: “The Kanuku Mountains is one of the least explored places on the surface of the planet, there’s no one who knows what Lucy and the team can expect from these mountains, but I do know that Lucy and the team will succeed.”
The Kanuku Mountains is Guyana’s largest protected area and home to Guyana’s ‘giants’ which include the anacondas, jaguars, the goliath bird-eating spider, giant anteaters, giant otters and other rich biodiversity.
Adventurer and Wilderness Guide, Eliza Brown has been tasked with updating the public on Shepherd’s journey with new information shared when they are able to communicate via a special mobile phone.
Shepherd has been doing expeditions and adventures for almost a decade. The expedition begins at the most Easterly point of the Kanuku mountain range — the Essequibo river — to the most Westerly point close to the Brazilian border. The journey will take approximately 60 days.