The Pantanal, Brazil’s Spectacular Wetland
The Pantanal of South America is one of the most immense, pristine and biologically rich environments on the planet. It covers an area of up to 210,000km2 (or 81,000 sq. miles); about 10 times the size of Florida’s Everglades. Often referred to as the world’s largest freshwater wetland system, it extends through millions of hectares of central-western Brazil, eastern Bolivia and eastern Paraguay; with over 80% of it submerged during the rainy seasons.
It is an unparalleled wildlife sanctuary of spectacular beauty, an ecological paradise, home to about 3500 plant species, 656 bird species, 325 fish species, 159 mammals, 53 amphibian and 98 reptiles. Wildlife includes Capuchin and Howler monkeys, capybaras, toucans, anacondas, caimans, tapirs, the endangered jaguar and Hyacinthine macaws, and giant river otters. And yet, despite the region’s beauty and remarkable environmental and economic value, the Pantanal remains poorly known and faces an uncertain future stemming from a myriad of socioeconomic pressures. While the Pantanal remains comparatively untouched, without correct understanding, timely action and wise management, its future could be seriously compromised.
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