Doug and fellow ECN listers,

I was in Guyana for six weeks in 2012 conducting dung beetle surveys. I'm
sure things have changed since that time, but I'll try to be as informative
as possible. I worked with a group of four other researchers who trained
undergraduates about field work and field techniques while also attempting
to conduct research. I was last to join the group, so a permit was already
started when I got on board and was added to it. I have attached a
"Guidelines for Biodiversity Research" document outlining appropriate
permitting procedures. The acquisition of the permit was not overly
difficult, we arrived in Georgetown two days in advance of our collecting
and had ample time to get signatures. You will need to stop in person to
get signatures during weekdays at 1) the EPA, which issues the permits, and
2) this is depending upon your collecting locations, the Office of
Amerindian Affairs. The latter took multiple visits before we were granted
signatures and it is useful to be aware of what districts you plan/hope to
collect. I have attached the Amerindian Affairs Village signature sheet,
this may have changed, but should give you an idea of what to expect.
Everyone physically collecting must fill this out, it isn't a blanket
document for the group. The EPA permit has fees and I have also attached
the sheet that we received. Again prices may have increased since that

If I may, I'd like to recommend a few people to contact or be familiar with
before you get your trip underway. Raquel Thomas is the Director of
Resource Management and Training at the Iwokrama International Centre for
Rainforest Conservation and Development. She is an excellent contact if you
are using the Iwokrama River Lodge, a great location with multiple
satellite camps that afford excellent collecting. Another individual that
you will likely encounter is Hemchandranauth Sambhu, he goes by Sambhu,
will check your specimens and provide signatures for export. He's a faculty
member at the University of Guyana, which is where you will take your
specimens for inspection, again during weekdays, no such luck on weekends.
A little advice, it pays to have an Excel sheet (electronic and printed) of
all of your collected materials for them that they can inspect and will
check against. Another bit of advice, they despised (in 2012, now hopefully
things have changed) bulk samples, I got unbelievable amounts of grief from
them because we ran litter samples and unsorted pitfall samples. I think
that they were under the impression that it was a way to not declare
specimens and sneak them out of country. But you and I both know there is
just no way to sort through that material while in the field, let alone
catalog everything. On the note of cataloging, they will settle for
identification to family, but I just did the best I could when submitting
data for them to check against. Hopefully they have come to realize the
value and necessity of bulk samples since my visit in 2012. I think that
you'll find Sambhu extremely helpful and friendly.

Lastly time for a quick horror story from the trip. The day after our
arrival in Guyana the local electric companies hiked utility prices through
the roof, which culminated in civil unrest, multiple shootings of
civilians, burning of local bridges, etc., etc. Well we were in the field
and out of communication when this was going on, so when it was time for
our departure we were told that we would not be returning by bus-as we had
arrived, but would rather be returning to Georgetown by plane. The day we
were set to depart they mowed an airstrip, out of a seemingly open field.
The planes were tiny with an eight passenger limit and a max weight limit,
so needless to say some gear and samples were left behind. One of those
being a 60 lb. bag of dung beetles sealed in whirl paks, which I had been
collecting during the trip. The bags we were forced to leave behind didn't
make it to us before we returned to the U.S. Long story short, I did get
that bag of samples 9 months later, when a researcher returned to Guyana.
The bag had sat in an un-airconditioned room for that entire time and were
salvageable, but people in my department still remind me of the awful
stench from when I brought samples back from Guyana...

Apologies for the length of this email. Lastly if you need to get batteries
for backlighting, etc. and can't bring them with you there are numerous
places to get them there. Also ethanol is available from the local rum
distillery in Georgetown, you may need to provide jugs for travel though,
we used fuel tanks. I was able to extract DNA from material collected into
ethanol from the distillery, so it should be acceptable for anything you
may need. Please let me know if you have any more questions or would like
recommendations for collecting locations.


Reese Worthington
Ph.D. Candidate
University of Mississippi

On Wed, Aug 10, 2016 at 11:30 AM, Doug Yanega <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Hi, folks. I could have sworn there was a website where people were
> compiling information on collecting permit regulations for various
> countries, but nothing obvious turns up in Google other than Chris
> Grinter's "Skeptical Moth" website, which is missing many countries. We
> were specifically looking for information on Guyana. Does anyone know (a) a
> better website compilation of international permitting regs, or (b)
> specifically what the situation is for Guyana?
> Thanks in advance,
> --
> Doug Yanega      Dept. of Entomology       Entomology Research Museum
> Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0314     skype: dyanega
> phone: (951) 827-4315 (disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)
>   "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
>         is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82