Lago Leopoldo (Lake Leopold) is a body of water located in the Venezuelan Amazon in the western-most range of the Guiana Shield at 4°57′57″N 67°29′08″W. It measures about 320 m. (1050 ft) by and 240 m. (790 ft.) and up to 20 m. (65 ft.) deep. The water level was documented at 384 m. (1258 ft) above sea level but may have diminished in recent years. Its name derives from the expedition that King Leopold III of the Belgians made in 1953 which motored up the Sipapo, Autana and Umaj-Ajé rivers and set camp several miles from the lake. There is no firm evidence that members of King Leopold expedition actually reached the lake. Lago Leopoldo was first seen from the air as a landmark near the Cerro Autana tepui during the 1950s. The lake was first visited by helicopter in March 1973 by the Spanish naturalist Félix Rodríguez de la Fuente. The following April, the terrestrial route from the original King Leopold III camp was established by a Venezuelan expedition which reached the shores of the lake on April 18, 1973. Lago Leopoldo figures prominently in the oral history and lore of the native Piaroans where it is referred as “Paraka-Wachoe” or the lake in the mountains. Lago Leopoldo now renamed Lago Autana has been included as a natural monument within a protected area which includes the Cerro Autana and adjacent lands.
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