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Jaguars of the Pantanal

Updated: Jul 5, 2022

Why a Wonder: The jaguar is the largest cat species in the Americas and the third largest in the world (jaguars just barely edge out cougars but are smaller than lions and tigers). Jaguars are impressive predators and exceptionally photogenic as well, covered in beautiful tawny fur with black rosettes.

Where: There is no better place to see these majestic predators than the Pantanal of Brazil, a UNESCO World Heritage site and the world’s largest tropical wetland, covering over 70,000 square miles. Porto Jofre is a popular base camp for jaguar touring.

When: Visit during the dry season (June to the end of September) for the best chance to spot wildlife along the riverbanks including jaguars.

Photography: You'll have to hire a boat to have any realistic chance of spotting jaguar. Expect long, hot days on the water (bring plenty of cool drinks and sun protection). Also, expect to have company, as word of any jaguar sighting is likely to get around quickly. Because the cats are often on the move, and you are often trying to shoot around other boats, flexibility is key, so a long telephoto zoom lens is ideal. Because you'll be on a boat yourself, handholding or a monopod are your best options. Sightings are not uncommon, but they aren't frequent either, but the Pantanal has plenty of other wildlife, so there's no shortage of excellent photography subjects.

Learn more: This site has a very useful guide for planning trips to the Pantanal.

© Ian Plant

This post sponsored by Tamron.

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