My recent talks about wildlife photography and conservation at the B&H photo store in NYC and at the FotoFusion event in Palm Beach, Florida created a lot of excitement about the Pantanal region of Brazil. I have known and loved this wildlife destination for many years and while everyone knows that Africa is a great place to view wildlife, few know that the Pantanal region of Brazil has more biodiversity than anywhere in the Americas. This makes it a fantastic and easily accessible destination to enjoy wildlife viewing.
A few interesting facts:
- The Pantanal covers an area of 66,100 square miles—that’s 10 times the size of Florida’s Everglades
- Jaguar viewing is very common
- The Pantanal is the largest inland wetland on the planet.
- The Pantanal is home to about 3,500 plant species, 656 bird species, 325 fish species, 159 mammals, 53 amphibian and 98 reptiles
- The Pantanal Conservation area—a group of four protected areas in the Pantanal—was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its ecological significance.
- The Pantanal is threatened by expanding human settlement, unsustainable farming practices, illegal mining, hydroelectric power plant construction and unregulated tourism. WWF is working with ranchers in Brazil to reduce deforestation and its negative impacts.
- WWF named the Pantanal one of its “Global 200,” a list of the most outstanding and representative areas of biodiversity
- The tourism dollars we spend and the photographs we take help protect this amazing place
As a wildlife lover, what I truly enjoy about the Pantanal is that we can really observe the animals from our boats-- they don’t run away--so you can see them feeding, fighting or breeding and if you like, you can take plenty of photos of them!
There are other areas with a lot of biodiversity, but because of the dense jungle you cannot see them. Some of the mammals (the giant anteater, the jaguar and giant otters) are almost impossible to see in other destinations. The Pantanal geography helps our viewing-- the forest is not so dense, there are grasslands and most of the animals can be seen from our boats.
The jaguar is a fantastic animal, the most powerful animal in South America, and in the Pantanal you will be almost guaranteed to see one. The Jaguar is also symbolically important and present in the mythology and in the art of all pre-Hispanic cultures of the Americas, from Mexico to the southern Andes. As you gaze into its eyes with your lens, you will feel its powerful magic too.
The jaguar was threatened in this area, it was the enemy that killed the cows, but nowadays, thanks to the visits of people like you and me, this beautiful cat is surviving and thriving and if the jaguar survives thanks to eco-tourism, then the entire Pantanal environment benefits.
In addition to all of the animals and landscapes you will experience, we will be staying in lovely accommodations and enjoying delicious Brazilian cuisine. Each day I will convey my years of experience in wildlife photography and I will be teaching you how to view specific animals and how use your camera to get the best wildlife photos, a collection of moments that you will treasure for the rest of your life.
I will be leading a Travel Vision Journeys photo safari to Brazil’s Pantanal this August and we have a few spaces left so I hope to see you there. I guarantee that on this tour you will become a better photographer and be proud of the photos you take--that is how photography enhances our lives and can make a difference in the world-- it allows us to relive the magical moments and share them with others.
Nos Vemos en el Pantanal! Feel free to contact our Travel Vision office in Arlington for more information 617-640-4837