This jaguar snapped on the left was sent to us by Pepe Cartes of Guyra Paraguay, and was taken in the Chaco-Pantanal Reserve by Veronique Gerard.
Everyone at the World Land Trust was excited and not a little envious when seeing the photo - particularly the WLT's CEO, John Burton, who, despite travelling extensively in South America has yet to see a jaguar in the wild! But that may be about to change as John is travelling to the Pantanal next week.
Jaguars in the Pantanal
The Pantanal is located in the north-east of the Paraguay and borders Brazil and Bolivia. It provides a semi-open habitat, with vast wetlands and palm-savannahs offering plenty of prey for the jaguars - and therefore some opportunities for intrepid travellers to spot them.
While it is generally extremely difficult to glimpse a jaguar in the wild, in the Pantanal it is slightly more likely, and a group from the WLT consisting of three staff members and five supporters are travelling there in early March with united hope that they may be lucky. Jaguars have been seen outside the Three Giants Lodge where they will be staying for a few nights so we can't wait to hear from them.
A member of the WLT group travelling to Paraguay next week is writer and comedian Tony Hawks. Tony will be writing about his experiences and will be giving a talk to WLT supporters later in the year.
A couple of weeks later, the Trust's three diploma students are also heading out to Paraguay, where they will undertake projects aimed at helping Guyra Paraguay in their conservation efforts. This is what they will be doing:
Tracie Long: "I will be staying at The Three Giants Lodge where, due to its location, the surrounding habitat has remained relatively unexplored. My project will involve using simple light traps to investigate the species of hawk and emperor moths present." The study, which will provide Guyra with basic data on which hawk and emperor moths are present, will result in a field guide to be used at the lodge by future visitors.
Martyn Griffiths will be in the small and very isolated community Bahía Negra for his project work. Together with the few other communities in the area, which include both campesino (landless peasants) and indigenous populations, Bahía Negra lies within a couple of hours' boat trip from the Three Giants Lodge.
Martin, who will conduct interviews to assess attitudes towards conservation and hunting, says: "It's clear local communities need to be involved within conservation projects, and the sharing of any benefits, to ensure success."
Natalie Evans' project is taking place in the south east of Paraguay, where fragments of Atlantic Forest remain among deserts of agricultural land, including soya plantations.
"I will be looking into responsible methods of soybean production in the region and in particular at Guyra Paraguay's pilot soybean project in the Atlantic rainforest in Paraguay to assess its potential for success", says Natalie, whose project will involve interviews with representatives of all stakeholders in the soy production industry including indigenous people, campesinos, small farmers, NGOs, local government and trans-national companies.