Pantanal Wetlands, Brazil

Pantanal Moto Grosso credit Filipe Frazao

The Pantanal is the largest  wetland area covering 250,000 square km. It is an area under threat from increasing amounts of cattle ranching. Thankfully while this wilderness is definitely under threat, there is still a great deal more that is still pristine.  There is an incredible abundance of vegetation and wildlife within the area, which sits in a large round depression in the earth. Two river systems flow through this area, Rio Paraguay and Rio Cuiaba. In the rainy season, these rivers burst their banks and flood 80% of the surrounding plains.

75 species of mammal calls this forest home, which include animals such as the Maned wolf, giant anteater, Capybara, 5 species of howler monkeys, giant otters, peccaries, tapir, deer and some jaguars. There are more than 300 species of fish and Caiman alligators can be seen resting on banks all around.

Other things to look out for are many lizards chameleons, land turtles, boa constrictor and anacondas. There are also more than 600 species of birds from Macaws toucans eagles rheas alongside many species of water birds.

Most of the land is privately owned, and while a good deal is used for eco-tourism, other areas are used for ranching. Whether these two uses can cohabit in this ecosystem long-term is yet to be seen. There is also the pantanal Matogrossene national park but this only protects 500 square miles of the reserve

There are a wide variety of tourism activities, including exploring by canoe or horseback to see what wildlife you can spot.

See Animals Wild