Karanambu Ranch Trust and Lodge
Karanambu Ranch is the family home of Diane McTurk, famous for her work rehabilitating orphaned Giant River Otters. Located on the edge of a vast savannah, the ranch is remote and rustic but admirably self-sufficient, with five thatched-roof brick cabins and a large, ramshackle main lodge. Morning and evening activities include boat excursions to see the giant Victoria amazonica lily and spot native birds and animals; nature hikes accompanied by the lodge's semi-tame raccoon, Bandit; and trips out to the savannah, where you can track giant anteaters with the help of the local vaqueros. But the highlight of any visit is spending time with Diane and the otters under her care. Twice a day she takes them down to the river for a swim, helping them learn to fish with the hope of later reintroducing them to the wild. When we were there, she was working with Buddy, a year-old otter who had been in an accident that left him partially blind. Nonetheless, he did catch some fish, frolicked with the village children, and leaped like a puppy onto Diane, who crooned to him in her husky voice. She reminded me of Katherine Hepburn by way of the Discovery Channel, and is a local legend.
By Ellen Hall
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