Ben’s News from The Jaguars of Pantanal Tour: 3 Generations of Jaguars!!
What an exciting day ..
It started early this morning when we climbed into our private skiff to venture up river, hoping to see a jaguar …
It wasn’t long before we received a call that a female jaguar had been spotted nearby. Hearts pounding with excitement we went to the described area, scanning the sides of the river eagerly.
Suddenly there she was! Walking calmly along, clearly hunting.
The Jaguars here are all identified by their spots and facial markings, and a careful log is kept of each and every one.
This was Ruth. She was spotted for the first time in 2008, and has been seen from time to time since then. We followed as she walked along a sandy stretch next to the river and then jumped onto a mound to look around. She was hunting a cayman, which provides more than 80% of the jaguar diet in these areas.
Now and then Ruth disappeared into the undergrowth, and then emerged again as she searched for suitable prey. Then she spotted a cayman …
The jaguar went into full hunting mode, and it was a matter of moments before she attacked. What? We could not believe that the capybara had escaped. Ruth continued to hunt along the rivers edge until she disappeared completely – and just then we received another call …
We arrived to find another jaguar, also a female … and she was accompanied by her 7-month old cub.
This was Ruth’s daughter, Patricia, and granddaughter Hunter. They were perfect for photography! And seeing the two together was beyond special … made even more so as we had now seen three generations of the same jaguar family in one morning.
We just had time to photograph some of the herons, cormorants and kingfishers before it was time for lunch back at the Flotel.
This afternoon we were lucky enough to find a family of Giant Otters doing what they do best – catching and eating fish. Because of their large size – more than 5 foot long – they consume a lot of fish daily, about 4Kg each.
In addition to watching the fishing and family interactions, we were able to follow them to their designated toilet area. These otters have special areas along the riverbanks that they use as toilets, then smear the muck thoroughly into the area to keep other otters away. We watched as they slithered around in the muck, smeared it around, made sure that their presence was well documented!
We remained with the otters until it was time to return to the Flotel for our delicious dinner – and bed – and hoping for another jaguar sighting tomorrow …
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