Identification. "E'ñepa" is the self-designation, but "Panare" is the most common name in the literature and probably derives from the word for "friend" or "ally" in the languages of neighboring Indian groups in Venezuela.
Location. The Panare inhabit the middle and upper reaches of certain right-bank tributaries (Suapure, Manapire, Chavirapa, Cuchivero, Guaniamo) of the middle Río Orinoco. This area falls between 5° and 8° N and 65° and 67° W and lies mostly within the Cedeño District of Bolívar State, Venezuela. Throughout the territory there is a marked alternation between undulating savannas at less than 100 meters above sea level and the forest-covered mountains, which in most parts of the region reach over 1,000 meters. It is warm throughout the year, but there is a marked difference in precipitation between the rainy season (May to November) and the dry season (December to April).
Linguistic Affiliation. Panare clearly belongs to the Carib Language Family, although it has certain traits that distinguish it from other Guianese Carib languages.
Demography. The Venezuelan Indigenous Census estimated the Panare population at 2,379 in 1982. They are scattered over some 20,000 square kilometers, but this area is also extensively settled by non-Indians. The available evidence suggests that the Panare population has been increasing rapidly.