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SAFARI BRAZIL A video report.


Brian's Art for Animals
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In my quest to see the world's exotic cats my next choice was the largest feline found in the America's, the Jaguar. After doing some research it seemed the easiest location to spot them was the Pantanal in Brazil since during the hot season they come by the rivers. After looking into various companies (Brazil trips are not cheap even though our US dollar is about 4 times more than the Brazilian Real) and for the best viewing chance and something with in my budget, I learned staying on the houseboats and being on the river makes it all easier. There were several companies, but after contacting some it seemed Pantanal Nature Wildlife Tours 6 day, 5 nights trip would be my best option as I only had about 9 days off of work. All the companies seem to hang out in the same areas on the rivers as well as just like Africa, they radio each other to let each little boat know what is out there.

So I left Chicago in early October and arrived in Cuiaba, Brazil day later. The video will take you through this experience.
What I did not mention in the video was that the tour group consisted of myself, Eddie the guide and 2 nice people from Australia and a friendly teacher from New Zealand. Both parties had way more vacation/holiday time to spend traveling than me and I was jealous. The U.S. lacks in the vacation category for sure. Well, I hope you like the video and if anyone has any questions, please ask.

https://youtu.be/a5jm7X-jRAs

Edited by Brian's Art for Animals
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Very enjoyable Brian! Hopefully the weather didn't stay that way? Looking forward to the next installment.

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Looking forward to this very much. We are headed to Brazil next June/July, although our time in the Pantanal will be in the south (so maybe not as good for jaguar?). In any event this is very timely. I like the video format.

 

I definitely feel your pain on the issue of vacation time. I was just discussing that with @@michael-ibk. All these people on here, none from the U.S., who can take off 3 weeks or more, no problem -- I get "the look" whenever I take 2 weeks!

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Brian, nice to see your latest work! I have great hopes for your jaguar viewing! Don't keep us in too much suspense for too long.

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Thanks everyone. Alex- where in South Pantanal are you going? I am sure the viewing will be about the same. As for vacation time, the one couple was on week 3 of 4 just seeing mostly Brazil, and the man from N.Z. was on like week 2 or 3 of a 8 week trip that featured South America, Africa, and I think Germany. I was very jealous. If only my work would let me go for 8 weeks...I could take hundreds of videos :) Episode 2 should be up in 4-5 days hopefully..

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Brian, in the Pantanal we will be spending a week at Fazenda Barranco Alto.

 

Will keep my eyes peeled for Episode 2!

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  • 2 weeks later...

The heavy rains finally broke away and we spent 3-4 hours on the boat. After a nice nights rest on the house boat, where I watched tv as Brazil tv seems to love wrestling and livestock auctions, and ate very well, it was up at out at 6am for another boat ride.

I learned that in order to get a good photo it helps to have a nice camera (of which I just have an average one) and also to know how to set your settings to shoot very fast. I don't know anything but auto settings, someday ..just someday I promise I will learn more about photography. The rain was gone but the clouds were still around. I was amazed at the number of Caiman. The river was filled with them. I hope you enjoy episode 2.

https://youtu.be/1DOI9oKgcCk

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@@Brian's Art for Animals

 

Thanks for posting installment #2.

 

The howler monkey is my favorite primate in South America as well. Those sounds reverberating through the forests early in the morning sound like anything but a monkey, more like an aircraft or other motorized piece of machinery.

 

You certainly got a good look at the giant river otters. And you are right: they are diificult to keep up with.

 

It's hard to go to South America and not develop an interest in the birds, isn't it? Photographing them adequately can be vexing, though! You did quite well.

 

Fingers crossed on the jaguar.....

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I don't want to spoil the suspense, but your intro cover shots give me great hope of a jaguar. Maybe even one in the water?

 

Video works very well for the otters, especially since the were so active for you, also for the caiman with the fish.

 

Photos look good!

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As we returned from our second boat ride, I was starting to worry about if I had come too late in the season and maybe the rains will be here and the jaguars wouldn't. I drank my Grape Fanta (which taste so good) when our guide knocked hard on my door and told me to get the others and meet him at the boat a.s.a.p....and the video explains why...

I will say that I am happy that the other guests on our boat felt like I did, in that we stayed far away and let the Jaguars be. Some of the other boats where for sure getting too close (funny as they were the ones with the biggest lenses)..and for sure changed the behavior of the jags. The pros and cons of eco tourism for sure. I hope the Pantanal can come up with some kind of system or rules that wont result in the river becoming too crowded at Jaguar sightings. But like many places in Africa...where there are big cats- there are big crowds.

https://youtu.be/X5gDByxj1L4

Edited by Brian's Art for Animals
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@@Brian's Art for Animals as usual, i've enjoyed reading and watching another video adventure from you. sad to see those boats lined up close to the shoreline, and blocking the jaguars' potential crossings.

that was a great shot of the female jaguar on the shore. they are both gorgeous cats!

 

1 question - you stayed on the houseboat but is the houseboat anchored at one spot during your stay and you make "game drives" on smaller speedboats? or boats similar to those that other tourists were seated in?

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Yes they pick a spot for the season on the house boat and anchor in along the shore. There was a smaller boat attached by a rope probably 20 feet away that had the generator on it and gas supplies. Then we went out on a smaller boat that sat 7-8 people. We had 6 (including the guide and driver) in ours. The problem is that there is no size limit and many of the fishing boats were huge and had massive motors. You could see the oil slicks left behind. Our guide was hopeful that in 2016 some rules would be laid down. But so many tourist are pushy and of course many guides/drivers want to get a good tip. I don't know how anyone could have fun with such a large boat and so many others on it with you. I would for sure use the company Pantanal Nature Wildlife tours again as they used smaller boats and limit the amount of people.

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Fantastic sighting! See them swim is special enough but then a cub too - awesome. :)

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Your jaguar dreams were answered. A cub! Wow! You got some great shots when they were in sight.

 

Thanks for the info on rules or lack thereof and the boats around the jaguars.

 

You had to be very happy after that sighting.

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What a great (albeit crowded) experience.

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So glad you got to see your jaguar, with a cub no less! Such beautiful creatures. When you first panned to the female swimming in the river, I thought it was a giant river otter. One doesn't ordinarily expect to see a cat in the middle of a river, with its head just bobbing above the surface.

 

Those spots really do afford the jaguar excellent camouflage, and yet you also managed to get some great shots.

 

Thank you also for your insightful comments regarding the intrusion and effects of larger crowds and the ethics of ecotourism in general.

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  • 3 weeks later...

The next day we started out at 5:45 am. The idea was to go far down the Cuiaba river, but instead our guide wanted to patrol the rivers closer to our house boat. We took off and at first it seemed only birds were awake...but then a caiman caught our eye and thus provided material for this video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zINYx_1LFCw

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Enjoying your report very much - great jaguar sighting, so glad you got it!

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Thanks for the latest installment. Interesting sequence with the caiman and eel.

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  • 5 weeks later...

Sorry for the month wait.. So after a short rest at the house boat we took off in our small boat and after a few minutes ran into a boat watching a tree... Odd we thought, until we realized there were some Jags around that tree. I wish it was 20 degrees cooler so I could have really enjoyed the moment...but the sun wasn't treating us too kind that day. Sun burn and Jaguars- a nice way to spend the day.

I think in total we sat for over 5 hours in that boat.. what is the longest you sat in a wildlife viewing situation?? (I remember doing about 5-6 at a lion kill once as well)

https://youtu.be/c5XZFSIVWNY

Edited by Brian's Art for Animals
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Another Boat Ride, Another Jaguar - that should be the name of your report!

 

Cool caiman sighting!

 

Do you have another wildlife watching trip planned?

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"Some people like relaxing vacations. I like searching-for-wildlife kind of vacations." You mean they're not one and the same??

 

Thanks for another installment. Great to see mother/daughter jaguars again, even if they didn't put on a hunt for you.

 

I can imagine how the sun and heat would have drained you after 5 hours. It looks like your boat was open. Were any of the other boats you saw covered?

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Yes the other boats (4-5 of them) all seemed to have a little cover they put up. Like a 6 foot canopy type thing).. I just used my shirt and hands. It was indeed very hot. I lived in Tampa for 8 years, so I have some experience with the sun draining you. Its not a good feeling, that's for sure. As far as another trip, this spring I am going to Malaysia to learn about the Malayan Tiger (probably wont see one, but will do a few jungle hikes.)

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