Three days of fire ravages land at Waikin Ranch; kills, injures wildlife

-Owners call on persons to stop setting fires in Savannah

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A fire which is believed to have been set by passersby close to the Waikin Ranch in Region Nine, has flattened acres of land killing several animals which lived there.

The fire started on Tuesday at the ranch located 30 minutes from the town of Lethem and lasted for three days.

“It is heartbreaking,” one of the owners of the ranch, Francesca Pires told the News Room in a telephone interview.

Francesca and her husband leased 33,000 acres of land in the Rupununi in 2007 and began cultivating various plants, providing home to various animals including turtles, snakes, Tamanduas and monkeys among others.

“Long term damage of life and environment are at a high cost to conservation efforts, to livelihood and most of all to the environment we rely on,” Pires noted in a Facebook post.

Pires said the ranch is being used as an eco-tourism destination.

“It is heartbreaking because we have been trying to develop our passion for Rupununi and our passion for the ranch to create a social project… We are getting great results… It s a lot of work resources,” Pires said.
In photos posted on the Ranch’s Facebook page, snakes, armadillos and turtles can be seen badly burnt while anteaters and spider monkeys struggle to find a safe part of the land.

Also, 252 fence posts and wire were also destroyed.

“We cannot be talking about tourism and conservation when no one wants to help,” the ranch owner added.

She explained that it is not the first time that persons set fire to the area, noting that on Easter Monday, someone set fire in an attempt to rustle the horses at the ranch but the fire was extinguished before any major damage was caused.

“Some do it for wickedness,” Pires said.

However, on Tuesday, the person who started the fire went unnoticed and the blaze fueled by the vegetation and extreme wind quickly spread across the area causing major damage to the vegetation and wildlife.

Pires said there have been times in the past when their living quarters were threatened.

As such, she is calling on residents to desist from lighting fires in the Savannahs.

Pires is appealing to Toshaos and Community leaders to work on ways to address this problem.

The Waikin Ranch community is accepting various fruit plants in an effort to replant the area and provide a home to birds and other wildlife affected  by the fire.

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