04/25/2015: Pantanal – Brazil's spectacular wetlands // Click here to open (or close) the description
In August 2014 I went on a photographic tour to the Pantanal, which represents the planet’s largest contiguous wetland and for its abundance as well as its fantastic diversity of wildlife oftenly is labelled as the Serengeti of America. Consequently, parts of the region were proclaimed a nature preserve by the UNESCO in 2000. The Pantanal is an immense alluvial plain of up to 230000 square kilometer located in the heart of the South American continent. Around three-quarters of the region lies in west-central Brazil, divided between the states of Mato Grosso (40%) and Mato Grosso du Sul (60%). Of the reminder, two-thirds is located in Bolivia and one third in Paraquay. During the rainy season, rivers disperse across the plain to inundate up to 75 % of the area. Many parts of the area generally are only accessible by small plains with the famous unpaved Transpantaneira being the only road into the Pantanal. The name is ambiguous, though, since it doesn’t cross the area but just leads 145 km into the region by passing around 123 wild wooden bridges. The fauna of the Pantanal is extremely diverse and includes 80 species of mammals, 650 bird species – let alone 26 species of parrots are recorded in the area including the hyacinth macaw, the world’s largest parrot, – 50 reptile species and 400 fish. Dense populations of species of conservation concern such as jaguar being the main attraction, marsh deer, giant anteater and giant otter live in the region. The Amazon gets the press coverage, but the Pantanal is a better place to see wildlife. The dense foliage of the Amazon makes it difficult to observe the animals, but in the open marshes of the Pantanal, wildlife is much easier to spot. It was a spectacular trip with an abundance of wildlife I never have encountered before and consequently is reflected by the largest gallery on this site so far. wildlife for the most part was photographed with the Canon f4.0/200-400mm IS + Ext zoom, the f2.8/300mm IS or the f4.0/ 600mm IS II (+ 1,4Ext) mounted on the Canon EOS 1Dx, EOS 5D Mark III and EOS 1 Mark IV bodies. Landscape and closer motifs were taken with the f8/24-70mm II, f4.0/24-105mm IS and f2.8/ 70-200mm IS II on the Canon EOS 5 Mark III.