Jaguar-spotting may be the most exciting thing to do in Brazil
Posted on Saturday 31 December 2011
in Rio De Janeiro
By Dylan Thomas
Tourists who enjoy seeing wildlife on their trips should head out on flights to Rio de Janeiro. Big cats, like lions and tigers, are a respectable and thrilling sight, but according to BBC Travel, jaguars take the cake for the most exciting.
The sleek felines, which are naturally solitary and well-camouflaged, are incredibly rare to see, even for those on tours meant to spot them specifically. As the third-largest cat in the world, jaguars are typically between five and six feet long and weigh up to 300 pounds. Closely related to leopards, these cats are found almost purely in the New World and are the largest cat in the Western Hemisphere. Because of their reclusive nature, the exact world jaguar population is entirely unknown.
SouthWild, a tour company in Brazil owned by Charles Munn, is now offering a four-day camp with guaranteed jaguar sightings in the Brazilian Pantanal. The largest wetlands area in the world, the Pantanal covers 54,000 square miles where zoologists estimate 5,000 jaguars live. The author of the BBC article, Gabriel O'Rorke, was treated to not just one, but several cat sightings on her trip with Munn's tour group.
The wetlands of Brazil are full of a variety of other creatures as well, including macaws, storks, caimans, capybaras and howler monkeys. In total, several hundred species of animals call the Pantanal home. Jaguars were listed as a Near Threatened species in 2008 by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Brazil offers a variety of other wildlife tours in different areas of the country. Visitors to the Amazon can travel part of the world's largest river and see a huge number of species of monkeys, including the rare White-nosed Bearded Saki Monkey, and a number of beautifully colored birds, fish and other animals. Caracas forest offers a unique look at 21 different primate species, 160 types of birds, and more than 1,000 different species of orchids. The area has often been compared to Madagascar in beauty and endangerment, according to Focus Tours. A number of other rainforests, rivers and parks such as Emas National Park, the Araguaia River, Itatiaia National Park and the Iguacu Falls.
Whether travelling to Brazil for the wildlife, the beach resorts or an adventure tour, the opportunity to spot an elusive jaguar could make the trip one in a million.
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