U.S. actor Dylan Efron wants to share Rewa’s Arapaima conservation story


By Vishani Ragobeer


With rolling savannahs, majestic waterfalls, and pristine rainforests that are home to rich biodiversity, Guyana boasts an attractive ecotourism product.

But the country offers more than amazing sites and United States actor, producer and travel blogger Dylan Efron has decided to tell the story of Rewa, a small Indigenous community in the Rupununi region that has devoted itself to the protection of the famous Arapaima fish.

On his second trip to Guyana this year, Efron travelled to the community, immersed himself in the indigenous culture and will produce a video series on his YouTube channel.

The idea to visit Rewa, Efron said, was birthed over a simple dinner conversation.

“We were just talking about this village that took it upon themselves to save this fish called the Arapaima that was going extinct; and by this community dedicating themselves to saving the fish, the fish ended up helping this village in a lot of ways.

“I think it was such a cool story of conservation and preserving this species that’s one of the rarest in the world,” Efron said during an interview with the News Room.

Actor and travel blogger Dylan Efron with an Arapaima in Rewa, Region Nine

Rewa is one of the many indigenous communities in Region Nine (Upper Takutu- Upper Essequibo) and wider that focuses heavily on preserving the natural environment and the rich biodiversity found there.

The Arapaima conservation and research initiative there plays a pivotal role in Rewa’s ecotourism attraction. Based on dedicated research and protection efforts, the Arapaima population stands at more than 4,000.

And next year, Efron aims to tell more people about what the community did to achieve that feat and how, in turn, the large Arapaima population serves as a tourist attraction, bringing much-needed revenues to the community.

He will do so through a new, five-part travel series on his YouTube Channel.

Three of the episodes will focus exclusively on Rewa, and there are plans to produce a short documentary on the community too.

But why should people look at the series?

Actor and travel blogger Dylan Efron in interview with the News Room

Well, Efron believes the story he has to tell is one that helps people see that Rewa is more than just a beautiful place.

“I think it’s easy to see a beautiful place and be like ‘Ah! That’s beautiful, I wanna go but it’s another thing to see something different and interesting and come away with something,” the blogger said.

There are other important lessons from Rewa, according to Kenneth Shivdyal of Wilderness Explorers, one of the local partners for Efron.

While Guyana focuses heavily on sustainable industries like its ecotourism product and plans to earn from saving its rainforests, Shivdyal said the upcoming series offers a glimpse of what is possible.

“… this is an option for getting income to a community and you don’t have to turn to things like mining, logging which is very destructive to the environment.

“You can conserve and preserve your wildlife and your forests and the animals there and you can benefit and have a very decent lifestyle,” Shivdyal said.

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