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Biodiversity Meets Incredible Wildlife: Brazil's Pantanal Revealed

February 27, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 197

Of all the natural attractions in Brazil, the Pantanal wetlands offer one of the country's best wildlife viewing opportunities. The combination of remarkably diverse wildlife and wide-open, sparsely vegetated flood plains make it almost impossible to visit without spotting at least a dozen of the region's treasured wildlife species.

Located primarily in Brazil's central-west states of Mato Grosso do Sul and Mato Grosso, with portions stretching into the neighboring countries of Bolivia and Paraguay, the Pantanal spans an area of between 54,000 and 75,000 square miles, making it the world's largest wetlands. Protected areas include a national park and various privately owned reserves concentrating on ecotourism and research. Among the most important of these are the SESC Pantanal Private Natural Heritage Reserve and the Pantanal Matogrossense National Park, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since the year 2000. The ecosystem experiences two seasons, the dry and the rainy, the latter of which can leave up to 80 percent of the land underwater. Flooding is so drastic that the Pantanal's first human inhabitants considered the region to be a sea full of islands. Visiting during the rainy season, the Pantanal indeed seems to be a myriad of islands surrounded by a sea!

While there is no denying that geology and climate contribute to the Pantanal's splendor, the undisputed main attraction for most visitors is the incredibly diverse wildlife population. The region is home to an estimated 1,000 species of birds, 480 varieties of reptiles, 400 types of fish, 300 species of mammals, and an almost unbelievable number of invertebrates (9,000 sub-species). In addition, there are nearly 3,500 known plant species, making this ecosystem one of the most bio-diverse regions in South America. Visitors to the Pantanal are often thrilled and delighted by such unique sights as the giant river otter and the hyacinth macaw, whose brilliant blue and yellow feathers make it the jewel of the birding world. Other animals include jaguars, Tuiuiú giant storks, anacondas, giant anteaters, maned wolves, South American tapirs, marsh deer, yacare caiman, and capybaras (the world's largest rodent).

There is no shortage of adventures for those interested in viewing the Pantanal's furry, feathery, and scaly population. From giant otter boating trips to bird watching, there is a little something for every type of animal lover. Some of the more exciting adventures on offer in the region include:

Jaguar Tracking - If you are determined to spot the often elusive jaguar, tracking tours are available. Guides use a unique indigenous instrument called an esturrador to emulate the jaguar's call and lure the big cat out of its hiding place.

Canoeing - What better way to see the Pantanal's wildlife than by canoe? Caiman and water fowl are common sights on canoe trips, and you may even see river otters, jaguars, and capibaras. And the best part of this adventure? - canoeing is completely environmentally friendly.

Night Safari - As many animals of the Pantanal are nocturnal, a night safari allows for the singular opportunity of tracking animals that might otherwise be missed. Frequently guides are known to shut off their lanterns to allow you to fully experience the sublime chorus of the area's nocturnal inhabitants.

Nature Tours on Horseback - Why walk when you can ride? Atop the pantaneiro, a horse breed uniquely adapted to the region's flood-prone plains, you will experience viewing the Pantanal's wildlife from above. Used to wading through floods and trekking long distances, a horse can go where no boat or car dares to tread.

Though the Panatanal can be explored year round, the drastic seasonal differences affect the activities on offer at any given time, making it an adventurer's paradise. Wildlife touring, horse riding, and hiking are ideal in the dry season, while adventure seekers will thrill to the excitement of wading or boating through the waters during the rainy season. Either way, the Pantanal's rich wildlife and unique ecosystem make it a once-in-a-lifetime not to be missed opportunity while traveling in Brazil.

I'm a trip consultant, planner and manager who loves creating unique intercultural adventures for families. I want to impart information,tips and personal experiences especially related to family adventure travel. Please contact me to help you in planning your travel adventure.,

Source: EzineArticles
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Pantanal Brazil


Brazil Wildlife


Pantanal Travel


Wildlife Tours


Wildlife Viewing


Ecotourism Brazil

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