rupununi, guyana conservation

Photographer Zachary James Johnston traveled to the Rupununi region of Guyana to document how conservation biologist Lesley de Souza and the villagers of Rewa are working together to save the threatened arapaima species and protect their local ecosystem - one of the most biologicially diverse places left on earth. 

Arapaima are the world's largest scaled fish and can weigh up to 400 lbs. Lesley's research is uncovering the basic life history of these famous but poorly-understood animals through surveys and radio tracking. The work is also aimed at helping the Rewa villagers establish a protected area on their traditional lands and sustain their catch-and-release fly-fishing business, which is proving arapaima are more valuable alive than dead.

Lesley's latest research involves radio tracking tagged arapaima from the air. Zachary joined to document the pristine forest from above. 

Lesley, Rewa and Zachary's photos were featured in Outside Online's "She's Got Next Column" which highlights adventurous women blazing their own paths.