Once despised, jaguars become a symbol of ecotourism in Brazil’s Pantanal

As cattle ranching became widespread in the region surrounding the Pantanal wetland, jaguars were seen as pests. Now, some farmers are converting their properties into nature reserves and reaping the profits

Photo: Ryan Biller for TBR

Stretching across the western portion of Brazil and into Bolivia and Paraguay, the Pantanal is the world’s largest tropical wetland and is home to a wealth of biodiversity — including the jaguar, the largest cat in the Americas. While jaguars exist throughout Latin America, with the occasional sighting even being reported as far north as Arizona, actually encountering one in the wild is incredibly rare. These apex predators, like most wild cats, tend to be highly elusive.

But the Pantanal is one of the only places on Earth in which jaguar sightings are relatively common. Unlike dense rainforest which...

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