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Found 23 results

  1. We traveled 3 weeks in August 2016 to the Brazilian Pantanal. As Chilean residents, we have already traveled in the South American tropics (Madidi National Park in Bolivia, Amboro National Park in Santa Cruz (Bolivia), Iguazu Falls in Argentina, Mata Atlantica in Eastern Brazil). We had already seen pumas (at Torres del Paine in the Chilean Patagonia and at Madidi NP in the Bolivian Amazon) as well as jaguars at Madidi. We had also seen giant anteaters, giant otters and much more. But we were totally aware that Pantanal would offer us outstanding possibilities of spotting the largest cat of the Americas, the mighty jaguar or onça pintada. And contrary to the rainforests, it would be much easier to see wildlife in Pantanal. Animal densities are really high, and the Pantanal is an open habitat, rather good for observation, while on the other hand it is much harder to clearly see wildlife in the Amazon. We decided to focus our safari on jaguars, tapirs, giant anteaters and giant otters. We thought it might be a great idea to visit Northern and Southern Pantanal at the same time. For jaguars, we had to take a decision if we would go to Porto Jofre, as 95% of the travelers do. I was really afraid of seeing a jaguar with 15 to 20 other boats, I really like exclusivity when I want to meet wildlife or to be in contact with nature. I have seen on ST that there was another destination with some reasonable possibilities to spot jaguars on the Rio Paraguay, at Taiama reserve. For tapirs, I was clear that Pouso Alegre was the right place to visit. There are some remarquable sightings on the web from this lovely place. For giant anteaters, chances are larger in Southern Pantanal. I was considering different fazendas, but eventually decided to visit Fazenda Barranco Alto (FBA) after reading the amazing reports on ST. I might have chosen Bahia das Pedras too. The are many differences between Northern Pantanal, which is located inside Mato Grosso state, and Southern Pantanal which is in Mato Grosso do Sul. Safaris in both regions are largely done on private land. But one main difference is that most fazendas (such as FBA) in Southern Pantanal, provide all inclusive service (food, accommodation, guiding) with the exception of transport. On the other hand, most places in Northern Pantanal, need to contract a guide, that is not included with accommodation and food in the Fazendas. We decided to use Pantanal Jaguar Safaris agency from Andre and Leen. There were really nice comments about there small agency, based at Chapada dos Guimaraes. We exchanged few mails to set our program, according to our dates and to availabilities. We were offered two alternatives to track jaguars: Porto Jofre, or the new Pedrinho floatel at Rio Paraguay. I decided to try the second option. I also asked for one night at Rio Claro. We ended booking one night at Mato Grosso Hotel, based on the bank of the Pixaim river, not so far from Santa Tereza Fazenda. We were told by Leen it would should a good place to see the giant otters. Well, the program was decided. We would stay one might at Cuiaba, 1 night Pantanal Mato Grosso Hotel, 4 nights at Rio Paraguay, 4 nights on the Paraguay River, 1 night at Chapada dos Guimaraes. We would then fly with Azul to Campo Grande, from where we would drive to Aquidauna and take a short flight to FBA, where we would stay for 5 nights.
  2. Following on from @@pomkiwi excellent report of their trip here is the story of our first visit to South America. Being avid African fans we knew the trip would probably not include a lot of wildlife but we were quite impressed with the animals and birds we saw but even more so by the astounding scenery. After a lot of research we decided to use Argentina as the destination country rather than Chile and made all our transfers in and out of Buenos Aires. We got an excellent Business Class fare that was almost the same price as Premium Economy! We flew from London to Buenos Aires via Amsterdam with KLM and arrived at 8am on 19 February 2017. We used the Mine Hotel in Palermo Soho as our base in Buenos Aires for the trip returning there before our visit to the Iguazu Falls and again at the end for a three day stay which allowed us to explore Buenos Aires at a more leisurely pace. A great little hotel. We were able to leave luggage there as the flight to El Calafate and onward to Bariloche had a reduced luggage allowance compared to our international flights. We had booked our trip ourselves, as we usually do, and planned a week in southern Patagonia, 12 nights in the Argentinian/Chilean Lake District especially to see the active volcanoes and 3 nights in Brazil at the Iguazu Falls. Booking the accommodation, hiring the cars and communications were very easy despite our lack of Spanish. Everyone spoke excellent English and we felt very welcome everywhere. The following morning we flew to El Calafate and picked up our hire car. We planned a trip into Chile where we would stay in Torres del Paine NP. First of all we put a day aside to visit the Perito Moreno Glacier which is only 100kms or so from El Calafate. We used Posada Karut Josh as our base in El Calafate, at only US$ 60 per night B&B it is a beautiful little family run place, and the host Frederico cooks amazing food. After a good nights rest we set off for the glacier. A fuel shortage in town caused some anxiety as we knew if we made the 200km round trip we might not have enough fuel to get to Chile the next day. Fingers crossed it would all work out we set off. It was wonderful to be self driving on a new continent and the roads were well maintained and easy. We soon started seeing snow covered mountains in the distance. The sun was shining, the sky blue and there was hardly any other vehicles on the road. A stop on the way delivered our first Caracara, a very relaxed and photogenic bird.
  3. This article was published a month ago, its main purpose is to value the jaguar. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2351989417300501
  4. There are five species of tapir around the world one in South East Asia and four in the Americas, since I’ve been lucky enough to have seen three of them I thought I’d start a tapir thread. So if you have any photos or videos of any of the following species please add them to this thread. Malayan tapir (Tapirus indicus) Is the largest and perhaps oddest looking species with its distinctive black & white colouration, this rainforest species is distributed along the Tenasserim Mts. from the borders of south eastern Burma and south west Thailand south along the Malay Peninsula and on the neighbouring island of Sumatra in Indonesia. There are no confirmed records from elsewhere in the region, it’s sometimes suggested that this species once occurred in Cambodia, southern Laos and southern Vietnam and is now extinct there; however the forests where tapirs were reputed to occur are too dry to support this species. They’ve never been reported from the wetter forests of the Annamite Mts. on the Laos/Vietnam border where tapirs could survive so it’s likely that the species was never found in any of these countries in recent historical times. Range map Baird’s tapir (Tapirus bairdii) This species is the largest of the American tapirs and the largest native mammal in Central America where it is distributed from southern Mexico south to the far North West of Colombia west of the Andes in South America. Range map Mountain tapir (Tapirus pinchaque) This small species also known as the woolly or Andean Tapir is found in cloud forests between 2000 and 4000 metres, alpine meadows and páramo grassland in the northern Andes in Colombia, Ecuador and a very small area of northern Peru. It has disappeared from the north of Colombia and may once have occurred over the border in western Venezuela but if it did it’s extinct there now. Range map Lowland tapir (Tapirus terrestris) Also known as the Brazilian tapir this species is found throughout lowland tropical South America east of the Andes Range map Kabomani tapir (Tapirus kabomani) This the smallest of the five species is also known as the little black tapir, remarkably this species found in the Amazon in southern Colombia and southwestern Brazil was only recognised in 2013. Despite the fact that native Amerindian peoples in this region have always known that there are two distinct tapir species, not only that but Theodore Roosevelt on one of his hunting trips to Brazil back in 1912 shot one. At the time he believed that the animal he’d shot was different to any of the lowland tapirs that he had previously shot, that the skull in particular was noticeably different and that it was probably a new species as he was aware that the natives recognised two species. However the American Museum of Natural History in New York where this specimen still resides disagreed and decided that Roosevelt’s tapir was just another lowland tapir. Throughout the 20th Century zoologists continued to ignore the views of Amerindian hunters that there were two distinct tapir species in lowland South America. It wasn’t until this century when Brazilian palaeontologist Mario Cozzuol started to really examine tapir skulls that it became apparent that the Amerindians and Roosevelt were right. Scientists make one of the biggest animal discoveries of the century - a new tapir
  5. After starting a thread on Tapirs I noticed that there wasn’t one for their principal predator in Central and South America the majestic jaguar and thought it was time to start one as there are already threads on most of the other big cats. Sometime ago I did have ago through my jaguar photos comparing their rosette patterns to some of the jaguars in other member’s reports but didn’t find any that matched. Perhaps if enough photos are added to this thread I will have another go and actually find that others who’ve been to Brazil have in fact photographed the same jaguars that I have, or at least that the same jaguars appear in more than one report. If you have any photos or videos of jaguars please add them to this thread. The jaguar (Panthera onca) largest of the New World cats once ranged from Uruguay in the south as far north as the U.S. state of Colorado but past hunting for skins, relentless persecution by livestock farmers and major habitat destruction has severely reduced and fragmented their range. They’re now extinct in Uruguay and El Salvador and although occasional itinerant males have been seen in Arizona jaguars are no longer breeding in the USA. The barriers being put up along the US/Mexican border in the form of walls and fences to keep out two legged immigrants from Central America will obviously also keep out the four legged kind. So even if proper protection allows the population of jaguars in Sonora in the north of Mexico to expand they will not be able to recolonise the US if they can’t cross the border. It’s very unlikely that any attempt will be made to reintroduce jaguars so it will be a long time before they’re back breeding in the US if at all. Interestingly if you zoom in on this Range Map there are several spots shown in Arizona you can also see just how close the most northerly Mexican population is to the border. Here’s a link to the Northern Jaguar Project who are striving to protect these jaguars in Northern Jaguar Reserve in Sonora. Jaguars are generally very elusive animals so throughout most of their range they are very difficult to see, though they are seen reasonably often in the Manu area of Peru, the Iwokrama Forest in Guyana and in the Llanos of Venezuela and very occasionally in parts of Costa Rica like Corcovado NP. There is however one area where you can be reasonably certain of seeing them, the Brazilian Pantanal specifically along the Rio Cuiaba and Rio Paraguai, if you really want to see wild jaguars then this part of Brazil has to be you’re first port of call. My report Brazil, Birds, Beasts and Big Waters along with other Brazil trip reports and the photos in this thread should show just how great this region is for Jaguar sightings.
  6. Ever since venturing to South America and the Brazilian Pantanal a few years ago (there's a 2010 trip report on here somewhere) I've had a hankering to go back. The goal then was jaguars and tapirs, but really any of the amazing wildlife of South America was on my list. I had visited the Peruvian Amazon years before, and then the Galapagos Islands in 1991, but my trip to Brazil left the lingering impression that if I wanted that "big game" feel that I get in Africa and India, then I needed to get back to the Pantanal! I had used Carlos Grandes and Pantanal Ecoexplorers in 2010 to organize the trip, and me and some buddies took the less traveled path to the Paraguay River and the Taiama Jaguar Reserve. It was adventurous for sure and we had a great time camping along the shore of the river across from a huge wood stork and roseate spoonbill rookery (noisy!) and our goal of seeing jaguars was realized with a fleeting glimpse of a female poking her head out of the reeds and disappearing moments later (but not before we snapped a quick picture!)...needless to say, I wanted more! (As a pretty important side note, I reached out to Carlos again to organize my trip to the Pantanal but the entire trip for me was dependent upon receiving a work bonus---when I finally got confirmation about a month prior to when I wanted to depart (I was in a race against time for jaguar "season" was wrapping up in late October) he had disappeared off Facebook and his website was down...I was forced to frantically begin contacting other potential organizers and learned when I was in the Pantanal that he had skipped the country and left a number of folks high and dry! Lodge owners, guides and tourist deposits! I was pretty shocked because my trip in 2010 went perfectly well, but I dodged a bullet apparently!! So, as I said, I was waiting for the green light on my bonus which gave me about 30 days to book flights and my trip. I googled cheap flights and bought them one at a time---a TAM flight from Orlando to Sao Paulo direct---a round trip Sao Paulo to Cuiaba on Gol---a Qatar flight direct to Buenos Aires---then a round trip to Trelew on Aerolineas Argentinas. The thought occurred to me that I might buy all of these single leg flights and get stuck in South America on the last one to the US! But I found a reasonable flight on Avianca back to Florida. I was able to join a small group staying at the Pantanal Jaguar Camp, two independent couple from the UK for a three night stay. So upon arrival in Cuiaba I had to stay one night at the Amazon Plaza (curious name for a hotel in the gateway city to the Pantanal but I digress) and then Pantanal Nature took it from there! They picked me up from my hotel, then two more stops at the hotels where the other travelers were staying and we were off... The Transpantaneira Highway was a safari unto itself....we had barely pulled out of Pocone under the famous sign and onto the dirt road before we were stopped by a yellow anaconda stretching across our "lane"...rather that twist and slither like I assumed all snakes did, this one was content to ripple his belly muscles and move in a long straight line across the road in no particular hurry...we piled out of the car and watched it make its way into the brush on the other side of the road. We were at times way-layed by groups of capybara and the occasional agouti. Even some caracaras picking apart a brilliant green snake. The sloughs along the side of the road were teeming with birds of all kinds and caimans by the score. Kingfishers were perched on the telephone wires and nosiy parakeets occupied these great shaggy nests in the palms. We crossed dozens of rickety bridges (there seems to be some effort to replacing the wooden ones with concrete ones) some so bad off we drove around them! We stopped off somewhere along the way for a pit stop but the overall trip to Pantanal Jaguar Camp took about five hours I'd guess... Pantanal Jaguar Camp and Pantanal Nature is owned by Ailton Lara. He has made a real comfortable place on the edge of the wilderness. Accommodations were basic, but clean and with AC. The food was excellent. I would definitely stay there again and highly recommend it. Ailton was doing an exploratory guided trip to a very wild area further to the south with a visitor that had been multiple times to visit the Pantanal. I wish I could remember the name of the national park but it had mountains and was beautiful. He arrived our second day and was a great host, serenading us with pantaneiro (cowboy) songs after dinner one night. Porto Jofre is not cheap because simply put, it's the best place in the world to see and observe jaguars...that's what you're paying for...a pair of hyacinth macaws visited us twice during our stay---such a charismatic bird! As an aside, the Pantanal is on par with Africa when it comes to bird watching...in fact, it may surpass it with it's toucans and macaws, rheas and jabiru storks and roseate spoonbills!
  7. Brazil Birds, Beasts and Big Waters From watching the incomparable sight of thousands of wildebeest leaping headlong into the Mara River to approaching a majestic bull elephant on foot, from bhundu bashing at speed after wild dogs hunting impala to sitting quietly amidst a family of mountain gorillas, Africa undeniably offers some of the greatest wildlife experiences you can have anywhere. However for me even the finest black-maned lion cannot compare to the beauty and majesty of a wild tiger nor can any wildlife experience on mainland Africa compare to standing in an Asian forest listing to the wonderful duetting song of gibbons. So inevitably at some point the wildlife enthusiast has to venture away from the wild shores of Africa to enjoy some of the amazing wildlife experiences that the rest of the world has to offer. At first thoughts turn perhaps to Asia after experiencing some of the best that this continent has to offer the mind inevitably turns to the Americas and in particular the world’s third largest species of cat. To stand the best chance of tracking down a jaguar there is really only one place to go which is why last October I found myself on a TAM flight to São Paulo in Brazil. Although my primary reason for choosing to go to Brazil was to see jaguars as quite a keen birder it’s hard to ignore the fact that the country has over 1,800 species of birds so seeing a good number of these was another major reason for wanting to go to Brazil. It’s not too surprising there are so many birds given what a huge country Brazil is, though to put things in perspective thanks to the Andes Mountains Ecuador despite being just a fraction of the size has over 1,600 species. Having such a huge list of birds makes Brazil a great country for birdwatching but also a very challenging one certainly for the amateur birder. As is true of most of the rest of South America, to stand any chance of seeing a lot more than just the commonest most conspicuous species you really need to be accompanied by a good bird guide. Unless you’re an exceptional birder and really know your stuff you’ll most likely be lost without a really good bird guide. This is why I opted to do a serious Brazilian birding and jaguar trip with Tropical Birding and then follow that with a brief look at one of the greatest natural wonders in the world Iguaçu Falls. From past experience serious birding trips can be very good for seeing all kinds of interesting mammals as well so I had high hopes of adding quite a few new species after all Brazil has I believe more species of mammal than any other country in the world. Aside from jaguars and other cats I was particularly keen to see giant otters an animal I’d previously only glimpsed once in Ecuador and maybe with luck a giant anteater or two and some armadillos or perhaps a sloth to name just a few.
  8. Searching for a tall leggy Brazilian beauty Wild adventures in Piaui and the Pantanal 20th of August to 3rd of September 2016 Introduction Tall and tan and young and lovely the girl from ... although the thought of sitting in a cafe in Rio drinking coffee or maybe caipirinhas watching beautiful Carioca girls walking down to the beach has some appeal, the girl from Ipanema was not the object of my quest. Instead as I'm sure most will have guessed the Brazilian beauty I was searching for while certainly foxy albeit in a more literal sense has four long legs rather than two. It is commonly known in English as the maned wolf and while not the weirdest of South America’s weird and wonderful creatures it is nonetheless an odd beast. Its name in Guarani is aguará guazú meaning ‘big fox’ this gave rise to its common bilingual Brazilian name Lobo-guara ‘wolf-fox’ but of course it is actually neither. In appearance it does look very fox like but its resemblance is not really to the foxes of South America but to the red fox of Eurasia and North America, in colouration at least. The maned wolf’s most obvious feature is its very long legs it is the world’s tallest wild canine which has led to it being nicknamed ‘a fox on stilts’ this is clearly an adaption to living in grassland. Of course as its name suggests it does have a mane which it can erect when threatened to make itself appear larger. Although referred to as a wolf it is remarkably un-wolf like in its behaviour being solitary and very timid and while clearly a carnivore perhaps more than half of its diet compromises vegetable matter. Especially fruit, its favourite food is the wolf apple Solanum lycocarpum. However it does put its large ears and pointed snout to good use catching rodents and rabbits and other small mammals and will take birds. Primarily it hunts at night and at dawn and dusk resting during the day, this combined with its solitary and timid nature makes it a very difficult animal to see in the wild. Maned wolves occur in Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay and the far southeast corner of Peru and formerly Uruguay where the species may be extinct. However by far the largest part of its range is in Brazil south of the Amazon Rainforest in the savannahs known as the Cerrado and in the Pantanal. Brazil is therefore the obvious country to visit to go and look for one but on a typical trip certainly if you were just going to the Pantanal you’d have to be extremely lucky to see one. The most you can possibly hope for is to chance upon one and catch a glimpse of it as it runs away. One place where you do have a very good chance of seeing one is Emas National Park in Goias and Matto Grosso do Sul. The habitat in this park is predominantly open grassland so if one is out and about you have reasonable chance of spotting it. However you still need a lot of luck, to be almost certain of seeing one you have to go to somewhere where wolves have been habituated. For some years most tourists have visited the Monastery at Serra da Canastra where the monks put out scraps of meat every night to feed the wolves. This was regarded as the best place to see maned wolves but apparently they no longer come quite so often after it was decided to put radio collars on them, (I don’t know for absolutely certain that this is true). In the last few years another site with habituated wolves has emerged in the recently created Parnaiba Headwaters National Park which straddles the borders of the states of Bahia, Piaui, maranhão and Tocantins. It was to this park and the so called ‘Wolf Camps’ that we decided to go to find our maned wolf. Mainly because In addition to an almost guaranteed view of a wolf, we would also have the chance to view bearded capuchin monkeys cracking palm nuts and get a close up view of some hyacinth macaws. We hoped to see other wildlife as well and also have a bit of an adventure in a part of Brazil that very few other tourists ever visit. From this little known corner of Brazil we would move on to the more familiar territory of the Pantanal in search of more of Brazil’s weird and wonderful wildlife. Not wanting to give too much away I decided not include any photos in this part, to make up for it I thought I would add some music. This version of Brazil’s best known song is by Bebel Gilberto, daughter of the famous João Gilberto who pioneered Bossa Nova music and played guitar and sang on the original recording. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ayq9qyuJikI One last thing before I start the main report. Since I mentioned caipirinhas at the start, for the benefit of anyone who has not yet visited Brazil, a caipirinha is Brazil’s best known cocktail. It’s classically made with crushed lime, sugar, ice and cachaça a type of rum made from fermented cane juice that is Brazil’s national drink. If you visit Brazil you have to sample a caipirinha or two, it’s a very nice drink, but every mix is slightly different, so if you’re given a jug, it pays to be a little cautious if you don’t want to end up under the table.
  9. I hope some prior Pantanal/Brazil travelers can help with this question. We are heading to the Pantanal in late August for jaguar and birding and then on to Alta Floresta for more birding. I am getting worried because I am reading that the domestic flights only allow 5 kg (11 lbs) carry-on. Of course my camera bag weights much more than that. There is no way I can get it under about 20 lbs, with two bodies, 200-400 lens, etc. My husband carries a similar weight bag. They are within size limits (GuraGear 22L and a Lowepro) but definitely overweight. We are flying on Delta to Sao Paolo, so that's no problem, but then GOL between Sao Paolo-Cuaiba. And then we are on Aero Azul to Alta Floresta. Am I going to have a problem?? I am reading on Flyertalk etc that they are really strict in Brazil with the weight. Starting to panic! We've been to the Pantanal once before but it was back in 2006 and I'm sure there weren't such tight restrictions. Thanks for any advice/reassurance!
  10. First off, I have to thank all the other Safaritalk members who have posted such great Pantanal trip reports over the years. I learned tons of information from folks like Janzin, Cheetah80, Treepol, TonyQ, Bush Dog, and Atravelynn. I don't think that I would have pulled the trigger on this trip without their inspiration. I need to especially thank TonyQ who went out of his way to help me with the electrical adapters that I would need in the Pantanal. Here was our Itinerary: 26 hour door to door travel on American and Avianco airlines 1 Night Hotel Prime Deville Cuiaba 2 Nights Pouso Alegre 5 Nights Hotel Porto Jofre Chartered flight to Barranco Alto 4 Nights Barranco Alto 27 hour door to door on American and Azul The two travel days were not fun. But, what was in between certainly was . With that said, here is a link to day 1 of the report: http://focusedonnature.blogspot.com/2016/09/pantanal-day-1-pouso-alegre.html Alan
  11. As usual, I'm a bit behind in my trip report and I thought the time to do it is now, before I leave on my next trip (India, in February.) As before, I don't keep a day by day journal and so this report will likely be a few anecdotes and lots of photos The Prologue: This was our 2nd trip to the Pantanal; the first, in 2006, was before the jaguar "tourist industry" really was in full force, and at that time we didn't even consider the possibility of seeing jaguar (although our guide for that trip, Paulo Boute, did tell us it was possible "further down the highway.") We had a great trip, and fell in love with the area, and the ease of bird photography! But back then, we didn't venture further along the Transpantaneira then about half-way. So for this trip, heading all the way to Porto Jofre, and finding jaguar was the primary goal! We attempted to hire Paulo Boute again, but he was already fully booked for our preferred time period. (Keep in mind, we were inquiring over one full year ahead--in July 2014!) We really wanted to go late August 2015, as late August into September is the prime period for jaguars. Looking around for another option, I contacted Pantanal Jaguar Safaris. http://www.pantanaljaguarsafaris.com/ I selected them based partly on the fact that they were locals, but also trained biologists, and they seemed to be well versed in birds as well as mammals. I was immediately very happy with their communication and didn't hesitate to go forward with them...it was a great decision. I'll say more about them at the end of the report; but the company consists of a husband and wife: Andre, who is a native Brazilian, and Leen, his wife, from Belgium. Both do the guiding, and Leen does the back-office work and organization. Since flights to Brazil are long and expensive for us, we'd also decided we wanted to visit a 2nd location. We'd been to Iguazu on our previous trip, and after much back and forth with Leen, looking into adding the southern Pantanal, or Emas National Park, or...we settled on ending our trip at Cristalino Jungle Lodge, in the Amazon. In the end our dates were determined by who had rooms available when---the Porto Jofre Hotel and Cristalino were already very booked for this time period and we only had very few dates we could choose from. This was our final itinerary: Arrive 8/24 in Cuiaba 1 night Curicaca Lodge 2 nights Pouso Alegre 4 nights Porto Jofre Hotel 1 night Piuval Lodge Fly Cuiaba to Alta Floresta 4 nights Cristalino Lodge Fly back to Cuiaba, overnight at Hits Pantanal Hotel September 6 Fly home Our original flight was to arrive in the morning, and we'd have a full afternoon to drive to our first lodging. Unfortunately, Delta changed the schedule and we were not to arrive until almost 4 p.m. By the time we got to the Transpantaneira it was dusk, and there was not much opportunity for photos. The shot everyone takes, although this was actually taken on our way out many days later as the light was wrong on the way in! It felt amazing to be back here! We did make a few stops and the pools filled with egrets, herons, ibis and storks immediately brought back how much we loved this place! But the real birding would have to wait until tomorrow, as it was nearly dark.
  12. Spix macaw was last seen in 2000 in the wild, and was posibly extinct in the wild. About 80 animals are kept in captivity. There are some plans to reintroduce the bird in the wild. http://www.birdlife.org/americas/news/spix’s-macaw-reappears-brazil
  13. http://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2016/04/scientists-discover-a-new-coral-reef-at-the-amazons-mouth/479259/ A new 600-miles long coral reef has just been discovered in the mouth of the Amazon, one place were no one thought corals could live.
  14. 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
  15. Part 1 - Pouso Alegre Here is the first part of our "visual" Pantanal trip report - for those with short attention spans ;-) I'm sorry I don't have the time for a day by day journal, but this is better than nothing I suppose! I know, I am a bad bad STer. Anyhow, lets get started! Our trip was organised by Brazil Nature Tours - John was very responsive to my emails and organised everything to perfection for us - he was also great help in deciding on our itinerary to ensure we saw a wide variety of fauna. I definitely recommend his services. Our first stop was Pouso Alegre. Very wildlife rich area which we enjoyed a lot. Hyacinth Macaws hang around in the property as well as a variety of other birds, mammals and reptiles. The property is large so game driving also needs to be done to fully appreciate the area. The game driving was very productive for us, especially near the waterhole where we saw Giant Anteater as well as Tapir. One day we even saw a mother and baby tapir - the baby tapirs are incredibly striking and cute. The accommodation at Pouso Alegre is very rustic and basic - but perfectly adequate. The rooms were clean, beds comfortable and there was a/c and hot water. What more could one want? There were also some tiny frogs in the bathroom for entertainment Food was ok - served 3 times a day buffet style. There is a fridge with drinks available all day - operates on an "honesty bar" basis, so you keep track of what you take yourself and then pay the tab before you check out. Drinking water was available for free all day (as long as you have your own bottle for it) Let me just comment here that in the Pantanal prices are similar to African safari destinations but you relatively won't get much as regards accommodation and level of service. It's just the way it is ... Horse riding is available and I would recommend this activity as you get to explore the areas where you can't go by car or on foot. It is not the best way to see the animals, and definitely not good for big lens photography - but it was fun. One favourite moment of mine is when we were riding in the water through the swamps and then thousands of white egrets took flight in front of us - a magical moment (see last photo). Ok that was it with the words for Part 1, I think the video can show things much better than I can explain them! Next instalment might take a while as it takes time to process the video. (Video shot and edited by my partner) Here are a few of my photos: Hyacinth Macaw Tapir with Baby Giant Anteater with baby. It's facing the other way though Lesser Anteater/Southern Tamandua. This is a bad photo but it was in very thick bushes and I stupidly went in with only my big lens. I was all scratched and my shirt torn but it was still worthwhile to get a bad photo of this fantastic sighting Rhea Agouti - eating a piece of manioc it found in the "compost" pile at the back of the lodge Chestnut Eared Aracari Crab Eating Fox '' Horseriding magic!
  16. I have been traveling three times in the last months to the Mata Atlantica in South America. The first trip was in the Misiones Province of Argentina to visit the Selva Misionera or Selva Paranense close to the famous Iguazu Falls, which is the name given to the Mata Atlantica rainforest in Northern Argentina. I stayed in two private reserves and ecolodge and then visited the Iguazu Falls. Have a look at the reviews of Surucua and San Sebastian de la Selva where I stayed: http://safaritalk.net/topic/15321-surucua-lodge-misiones-argentina/ http://safaritalk.net/topic/15322-san-sebastian-de-la-selva-misiones-argentina/ Selva Misionera by Goulevitch Jérémie, sur Flickr Carpintero Arco Iris by Goulevitch Jérémie, sur Flickr The second trip was in the dry semi-deciduous forest in the Fazenda Bacury, Sao Paulo State, Brazil. Yellow-billed tern by Goulevitch Jérémie, sur Flickr The third and last trip was much shorter. I had a short visit of the golden lion tamarins after 4 days on the beaches of Cabo Frio, Buzios and Cabo do Arrail just East to Rio de Janeiro. Micao leao dourado by Goulevitch Jérémie, sur Flickr
  17. I found this really nice article on Mongabay that resumes the work of conservation led by different biologists at Caratinga and Carlos Botelho: http://news.mongabay.com/2015/10/hippie-monkeys-hang-tough-brazils-critically-endangered-muriquis/
  18. http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0129818 http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v523/n7559/full/523130a.html The research article from PLOS One and the news summary from Nature concern the impact on vertebrate wildlife of the construction of a Mega Hydroelectric Dam in Brazil's lower Amazon region. Surveys of biodiversity were conducted on islands created by flooding after dam construction, resulting in abrupt artificial isolation. Urgent reassessment of future hydroelectric projects is urged.
  19. A Brazilian conservationist from the Jaguar Conservation Fund discoveries tends to think YES jaguar can adapt and live in agricultural landscapes: http://www.cctv-america.com/2015/03/01/the-endangered-jaguar-makes-a-comeback-in-brazil http://www.jaguar.org.br/en/index.html
  20. http://www.fauna-flora.org/news/new-monkey-species-discovered-in-the-amazon-rainforest/ A new specie of titi discovered in the amazonian rainforest.
  21. As a direct result of reading wonderful trip reports on Safaritalk, we have decided to go to the Pantanal in August/September 2014. (These have included reports by @@Treepol , @@Jochen , @@Atravelynn , @@michael-ibk , @@inyathi , @@kittykat23uk , @@pedro maia We have also looked at planning notes that others have done. I have already received invaluable advice from Treepol and would be interested into tapping into the experience of others. We are most interested in mammals - we like birds but are not birders. We will probably go to the South Pantanal first (Barranco Alto) for 3 or 4 nights We will spend the rest of our trip in the north - probably 9 nights We think we will stay at the Hotel Porto Jofre (poss 3 nights) to have a chance of seeing Jaguar The rest we will spend at lodges along the Transpantaneira Highway We wondered which lodges do people like - and why? Are there any you dislike - and why? Thank you
  22. Had to post from the Barranco Alto guest computer! Such a thrill! 1 on night drive, too quick for a photo mother and 2 cubs on a walk, couple photos taken Great place. Rains started a little early this year--today. I was told it was a privilege to be here for first of the rains. It lasted about 4 hours. Full report with photos in Oct.
  23. Here's some piccies from my trip to the Pantanal: peach fronted parakeet P1300367 by kittykat23uk, on Flickr Red legged Seriema P1300374 adj by kittykat23uk, on Flickr Plumbeous Ibis P1300376 by kittykat23uk, on Flickr Southern lapwing P1300383 by kittykat23uk, on Flickr Buff necked Ibis P1300404 by kittykat23uk, on Flickr Juvenile snail kite P1300414 by kittykat23uk, on Flickr Jabiru (with odd colouration) P1300461 by kittykat23uk, on Flickr Roseate Spoonbill P1300483 adj by kittykat23uk, on Flickr

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