The Pantanal: Earthly Paradise

 

 

Pantanal Jaguar (2:47)

 

Leandro Silveira on the Pantanal Jaguar

Well, The jaguar is a top predator.  It’s the largest carnivore in Brazil.  And, it is one of the best examples of habitat quality.  Its presence is one of the best examples of habitat quality because they require each animal.  Require a large home ranges and they depend on habitat quality.  They depend on good natural cover.  They depend on natural prey base.  That means the presence of a jaguar in one specific site, that means that site is in good quality. 

It is pretty difficult to see jaguars in the wild.  They’re very secretive animals.  To study jaguars we end up doing a lot of detective work.  We work on signs.  We have to learn to read evidence left in the wild.  It’s a better chance of seeing jaguars is along the river side, on the river banks and the sand beach early in the morning when they come out for sun bathing.

We have recorded jaguars calling at night.  And, uh, we have in Brazil, hunters use a caller, we call it a jaguar caller.  It’s an instrument they make out of a plant.  And  it’s a hollow plant.  And you call imitate the sound and the animal respond to that.

Pantanal JaguarWell, since farmers colonized the Pantanal for beef cattle production, they have had problems with jaguars eating their cattle and they shooting jaguars.  Although killing of jaguars are illegal, this have happened, historically have happened. In recent years farmers have become more consciousness about this, and not killing every jaguar they see, at least.  One of the alternatives to minimize jaguar impact in some of the ranches is probably to find ways to bring in tourists instead of shooting jaguars.  Maybe gain some money with jaguar tourism in the region.

Jaguars play a very mystic role, in Brazilian culture.  Especially in indigenous people all those local up there in remote areas.  They are very afraid of the jaguars.  They are very afraid to be attacked.  And what we have learned studying jaguars is that the last thing that animals will do is to attack a human being.  All the attacks, when you go off to the records of jaguar attacking humans, it is always related to situations where they were they were treed or, you know, they were being hunted or they were shot and they wounded and they would come back to the people.  So, what we have learned we have been in situations where we have been very close to animals and these animals just walked away. So what we could see was the fear is so big, but, actually the animals , do avoid humans and there’s no record of natural attacks in this regions.

Pantanal Research Links

Links to research being conducted at Pousada Ararauna may be found under the “Projects” heading at www.pousadaararauna.com.br

HELEN WALDEMARIN ON OTTERS (PANTANAL)

Helen Waldermarin
Author, researcher, otter specialist

I'm work in Pantanal, in Brazil, in Central West Brazil. And I'm studying otters, giant otters and neo-tropical otters in Pantanal. We have thirteen otter species in the world, and in Brazil we have these two species: the giant and neo-tropical.
The difference between giant and neo-tropical otters -- the giant otters are bigger, longer. They are social animals; they live in familiar groups. And the neo-tropical otters are smaller, and they are solitary animals. They live themselves, only are together during the reproductive time.
I have two main issues in the project. One of them is we are studying how the neotropical and the giant otters can live together in this area without have a direct competition. So they are using the same resources, they are using the same area, they are similar animals, and how they are not competing in the area. Another one is to try to understand the habitat requirements and the general requirements of giant otters – they are a threatened species. And, uh, especially, um, what they need to live and to have a healthy population in an area, and they try to use this data for tourism management in Pantanal.
Ecotourism in Pantanal is increasing a lot, and the experience in some areas, outside Brazil especially in Peruvian Amazon, they found that the otters can be disrupted. The behavior can be disrupted. So the idea is have a good, a good tourism that will not disrupt the giant otters' activities.
I guess the first thing is that we don't know almost anything about these animals, and so to learn about the animals, the wildlife that we have. And besides this, considering that they are top predators, they are very important to maintain the biodiversity and the aquatic environment and the environment as general.

CREDITS:  Thanks to Reggie Donatelli, for his patience, generosity and good humor, Blue Magruder and Heather Pruiksma at Earthwatch, photographers "Uncle Jeff" Himmelstein and Ellen McKnight, and all the other members of the team (Lee, Warren and Ron) who had to put up with the pesky demands of a sound recordist ("Quiet on the boat, please!"), research scientists Don Eaton, Alexine Keurohghlian and Marion Kallerhoff,  Rick Prum and family, musicians Celso do Silva and Arnaldo Silverio, and intrepid guide Picolay.

Video and all sounds ©2007 Jim Metzner.  All Rights Reserved.  Sampling or any commercial use without permission is strictly prohibited.