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It had been a dream of mine to visit the Pantanal in Brazil to photograph jaguars for some time.  That dream began to materialize in 2019 and came through in October of 2020.

The Pantanal is the world’s largest tropical wetland, covering over 70,000 square miles, about the size of Washington State, with the highest concentration of wildlife in South America.  It is the best place in the world to see and photograph jaguars.  Their high density here is because they are protected from hunters and their favorite prey, kaimans and capybaras are plentiful.

Annual rainfall over the flood basin is between 40 and 60 inches, with most of the rainfall occurring between November and March. In some areas water levels rise from six feet to thirty feet seasonally

The Pantanal boasts the highest concentration of wildlife on the continent.  Among the rarest animals to inhabit the wetland of the Pantanal are the marsh deer and the gisnt river otter both of which I saw.   Capybaras look a lot like a giant hamster. Up to two feet tall and 175 pounds, they are the world’s largest rodents. 

During the dry season temperatures exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit and the humidity is in the low teens.  The jungle growth is dry and flammable and just the reflection of the sun off a rock can start a fire.  Fires in the Pantanal have raged across an estimated 8,000 square miles this year.   Even visible to astronauts in space.

Normally there would be six people in the boat but because of cancelations I was the only one so my trip turned into a private safari.  We would leave the lodge about 6:15 AM and return about 4:30 PM.  We would have a hot lunch on the boat and carry a 22 liter jug of water which we would fill our water bottles from and keep on ice.  Temperatures got to 110 degrees.

We saw our first jaguar at 9:00 AM the first day and saw twelve over the four days.  Between birds, kaimans and mammals wildlife was always visible. 

Hope you enjoy this short slide show.