Pantantal, Brazil 2013: Part 3, And Finally….The Jaguar!

Full Disclosure:  I was not financially compensated for this post.  We received a small discount for professional courtesy from Southwild.  The opinions are completely my own based on my experience. 

In Parts 1 and 2 of my Pantanal Trip blog series, I talked about staying at the Southwild Pantanal Lodge and the watching river otters, caiman, and birds at the Southwild Jaguar Flotel.  Today I will finally post photos and details about the jaguars!  Charles Mann guarantees that you will see jaguars if you book at least 3 days through Southwild.  That is a bold statement that came to fruition for us.  We had 11 jaguar sightings in 5 days at his Flotel.

SouthWild Jaguar Flotel, Pantanal, Brazil

SouthWild Jaguar Flotel, Pantanal, Brazil

SouthWild Jaguar Flotel, Pantanal, Brazil

SouthWild Jaguar Flotel, Pantanal, Brazil

The way you find jaguars in the Pantanal is the old-fashioned way: you get in a boat and go look for them.  During high-season, there may be as many as 20 boats or more looking for jaguars.  This means that your guide will get a radio that a jaguar has been spotted and you can head to go see him or her.  The downside to that is that you have to share the experience with a lot of other people.  October is the end of the season, so during our last full day at the Flotel, we only had one other boat looking for jaguars.  This meant it took longer to track one down, but there were fewer boats/people at each sighting.

A common site in the Pantanal. The more boats out looking for jaguars and the easier it is to find them. But then have to share the experience with more people and it can get crowded. It is a double-edged sword.

A common site in the Pantanal. The more boats out looking for jaguars and the easier it is to find them. But then have to share the experience with more people and it can get crowded. It is a double-edged sword.

Chris teaching Tristan how to photograph using a long lens. All the boat drivers showed courtesy to make sure everyone had a chance to take a good shot of the jaguars.

Chris teaching Tristan how to photograph using a long lens. All the boat drivers showed courtesy to make sure everyone had a chance to take a good shot of the jaguars.

Southwild researchers do not use radio tracking or collaring to find the jaguars’ home range. Instead, they visually track the jaguars in the Pantanal in order to understand how to protect these magnificent creatures.  Charles is able to guarantee jaguars on his tours because research their observational research has shown that they spent the majority of their time near the water.  Unlike their African cousin, the leopard, jaguars do not have to take their kill up a tree, as they are the top predator in the Pantanal.   The leopard needs to take its kill up a tree because lions or even hyena could easily steal it.

A jaguar sighting in the wild is truly a spiritual experience.  They are simply beautiful animals.  There is also something sobering about watching these creatures that very few people in the world can say they have seen outside of a zoo.

My boys photographing together. Tristan announced he wants to be a wildlife photographer and "moviemaker" when he grows up. So proud!

My boys photographing together. Tristan announced he wants to be a wildlife photographer and “moviemaker” when he grows up. So proud!

Jaguar in the Pantanal, Brazil. Photo taken with a "point and shoot" Nikon Coolpix L110.

Jaguar in the Pantanal, Brazil. Photo taken with a “point and shoot” Nikon Coolpix L110.

Wild jaguar in the Pantanal, Brazil. Photo taken with a "point and shoot" Nikon Coolpix L110.

Wild jaguar in the Pantanal, Brazil. Photo taken with a “point and shoot” Nikon Coolpix L110.

Jaguar on a beach at Pantanal, Brazil. Photo taken with a "point and shoot" Nikon Coolpix L110.

Jaguar on a beach at Pantanal, Brazil. Photo taken with a “point and shoot” Nikon Coolpix L110.

Jaguar in Pantanal, Brazil

Jaguar in Pantanal, Brazil

Jaguar in Pantanal, Brazil

Jaguar in Pantanal, Brazil

Jaguar in Pantanal, Brazil

Jaguar in Pantanal, Brazil

Jaguar in Pantanal, Brazil

Jaguar in Pantanal, Brazil

Jaguar in Pantanal, Brazil

Jaguar in Pantanal, Brazil

Kara and Tristan loved going on jaguar safari.  Despite the heat, humidity, and horseflies, they did not complain about sitting on a boat for hours with nothing to do but look at jaguars.  In fact, at the conclusion of the trip, Tristan said he wants to be a wildlife photographer and movie maker like his Daddy.  They also had some fun experiences out on the river besides jaguar sightings, including the time a fish jumped in the air, hit Kara on the face, and plopped inside the boat.  That unfortunate fish became caiman dinner later that evening.  One of my favorite moments was when we were taking the boat back to the Flotel one evening, the bats emerged and were flying even with the boat.  That was amazing!

Kara and I "selfie" in the Pantanal, Brazil.

Kara and I “selfie” in the Pantanal, Brazil.

Though we were dirty, hot, and gross from all the bug spray and and sunscreen, we were truly happy on this trip.

Though we were dirty, hot, and gross from all the bug spray and and sunscreen, we were truly happy on this trip.

On our last full day on the river, Paolo let us run around on a small beach. It felt so good to stand on solid ground.

On our last full day on the river, Paolo let us run around on a small beach. It felt so good to stand on solid ground.

The last two nights at the Southwild Jaguar "Flotel", the owner let us use one of the suites. Very fancy!

The last two nights at the Southwild Jaguar “Flotel”, the owner let us use one of the suites. Very fancy!

The last two nights at the Southwild Jaguar "Flotel", the owner let us use one of the suites. Very fancy!

The last two nights at the Southwild Jaguar “Flotel”, the owner let us use one of the suites. Very fancy!

Kara and Tristan would take turns being "captain" of the boat. Guess who the captain was during this shot?

Kara and Tristan would take turns being “captain” of the boat. Guess who the captain was during this shot?

I liked boating through the wider main river instead of the shallow channels. It was breezier and there were less bugs.

I liked boating through the wider main river instead of the shallow channels. It was breezier and there were less bugs.

Kara on the top deck of the Southwild Jaguar "Flotel".

Kara on the top deck of the Southwild Jaguar “Flotel”.

Tristan loved being on the front of the boat.

Tristan loved being on the front of the boat.  This is the same river bank where the jaguar attacked the caiman in the viral video listed at the end of this blog post.

This is one of the cutest pictures of Tristan. Even in the Brazilian jungle, he used his cuteness to get away with murder.

This is one of the cutest pictures of Tristan. Even in the Brazilian jungle, he used his cuteness to get away with murder.

Kara and I "selfie" in the Pantanal, Brazil.

Kara and I “selfie” in the Pantanal, Brazil.

Chris and Tristan on the boat in Pantanal, Brazil.

Chris and Tristan on the boat in Pantanal, Brazil.

I missed being out in the wild.  I had not been on a wildlife trip since Chris, Kara, and I went to Tanzania in 2009.  There is something so soothing about going somewhere with no paved roads, power lines, or Internet.

Pura Vida!

About Noemi Gamel

Noemi Gamel is a physician who prefers writing diverse children's fantasy stories instead of medical charts. She is a geeky nomad, too.
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2 Responses to Pantantal, Brazil 2013: Part 3, And Finally….The Jaguar!

  1. That is one pretty cat.

  2. Pingback: 7 Ways to Teach Your Kids to Be Grateful | Pura Vida Familia

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