Jaguars, alligators, birds: Pantanal has animals that ‘shine’ to the eyes | Mato Grosso do Sul

The 150,355 square kilometers of extension make the Pantanal the largest floodplain in the world. With all this size, rivers and a flora rich in diversity, the Natural Heritage of Humanity brings together animals of the most different species.

Some of them are considered symbols of the biome, they ‘shine’ in the eyes, being fundamental for the maintenance of the biome’s food chain and also for the region’s economy, as tourists from all over the world go in search of connection with nature and beautiful records.

“The relationship between this fauna and human beings, in the Pantanal, is quite friendly”, says Walfrido Moraes Tomas, researcher at the Emprapa Pantanal Wildlife Laboratory.

According to Walfrido, among the many animals that have their natural habitat in the Pantanal, we can list at least six as symbols, and each one of them for specific reasons. In common, with the exception of macaws, the importance of floodable areas for survival.

“All of them benefit from the diverse landscapes of the Pantanal, but what most characterizes them as a group is the fact that the Pantanal is one of the most important areas for its conservation”, summarizes the researcher.

According to him, there is no study on the number or size of the population of these animals. What is known is that many died in fires that occurred in recent years in the region.

“There were jaguars that died or were injured, nests of jaguars destroyed by fire, deer killed by fire, many alligators died (we estimate more than 85,000 alligators killed directly by fire in 2020), but this does not allow us to estimate the impact on populations, because they are not known in their size with the necessary precision, or are even unknown”. says Walfrido.

Jaguar in the Pantanal — Photo: Gustavo Figueirôa/Personal Archive

The size is impressive. The colors, yellow and black, look like a painting. The ferocity frightens. And the combination of all this attracts people from all over the world. Studies show that Brazil holds about 50% of the world’s jaguars — more than 90% of them are in South America.

Seeing this feline is the pinnacle of a trip to the Pantanal. The animal is also studied and some are even monitored electronically by researchers. In Miranda, for example, there is a specific project on the behavior of this animal, the Onçafari. There are also other initiatives such as: Onças do Rio Negro, and in Mato Grosso, the NGO Panthera and ICMBio.

“The Pantanal is home to one of the most important populations of the species, and this is the place where it is easier to observe them”, explains Walfrido.

According to the researcher, even being an essentially terrestrial animal, the jaguar is closely associated with water.

“It hunts a lot of aquatic animals or animals that live in floodable environments, such as alligators, capybaras, deer, etc”, explains Walfrido.

Female jaguar runs away from male and snuggles in the Pantanal of MS — Photo: Edir Alves/ Reproduction

Tuiuiú stays in flooded areas in search of food — Photo: Chico Gomes/TV Morena

“It is considered the symbol bird of the Pantanal because its population is abundant. It is a species dependent on flooded areas and, therefore, it symbolizes the Pantanal very well”.

The black-necked bird with red detail, white body and thin legs, stands out in the sky and in the Pantanal waters. There are many ‘back and forth’ and it’s easy to see them when you go to the Pantanal by land.

And it’s not just in the air that you can see these birds. They feed on small fish and are always in the rivers, hunting. Most of the time they are in couples, but they can get together in groups.

Tuiuiús in the Pantanal of MS — Photo: Chico Gomes/TV Morena

Giant Otter is spotted by a tour guide and poses for a photo in the Pantanal of MS — Photo: Edir Alves/Foto

“It is a species dependent on rivers and lakes, easily observed in the Pantanal. The region is home to one of the most important populations of this species, which is considered endangered.”

Giant otters are excellent predators of fish and are considered the ‘jaguars of the water’. Also known as giant otters, they can measure up to 1.80 m and are animals with diurnal habits and typical of freshwater. They are always in groups taking care of their territory.

In addition to burrows, the giant otter also builds latrines, where it does its physiological needs, and also campsides, which are areas built in shaded regions and close to feeding areas, serving for rest and demarcation of territory.

Hyacinth macaws are caught feeding in the Pantanal. — Photo: Cláudia Gaigher/Personal archive

“It is one of the most easily observed species in the Pantanal, where the largest population is located. It is also an important tourist attraction”.

The Blue Macaw Project follows the population of these birds in the biome, through research and monitoring of natural and artificial nests. Anyone who wants can support the works, through adoption.

The Pantanal brings together the two largest hyacinth macaw strongholds in the world — Photo: Globo Repórter

Pantanal deer is another symbol of the biome — Photo: Walfrido Moraes/Embrapa Pantanal

“It is an endangered species totally dependent on floodable areas. The Pantanal is home to the largest known population. It is also a relevant tourist attraction”.

The marsh deer can weigh up to 130 kilograms and measure more than two meters in length. The Cervidae family, represented by deer and deer, is the only native ruminant existing in Brazil.

Alligator caught in a lagoon near the BR-262, in the south-mato-grossense pantanal — Photo: Lucas Fialho/Personal Archive

“They are very abundant in the Pantanal and are associated with rivers, streams, lagoons, lakes and swamps. They are almost ubiquitous and constitute an important feature of the Pantanal”.

Despite many, a reduction in this population has been observed due to a sad reality in relation to these reptiles: illegal hunting for meat.

“It has increased considerably in the Pantanal, especially close to cities, which is evident by the number of alligator carcasses found floating in rivers and lakes, or thrown in the bush, always without the tail. This identifies an illegal hunting for meat”, says the researcher.

Professional recorded alligators in the late afternoon in the Pantanal of MS — Photo: Luiz Mendes/Arquivo Personal

The premiere of the soap opera Pantanal this week is showing the entire country the beauty and exuberance of the biome’s fauna and flora. But it also aroused curiosity about the way of life, gastronomy, animals and legends. The g1 prepared a series of special articles on these subjects. Check it out below:

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