The Mother all Swamps
When we talk of Brazil the word ‘the world’s largest’ has to be commonly used; like th Harbour of Rio the world’s largest natural port, Christ the Redeemer the statue, Amazon the largest river and largest tropical forest, Carnival world’s largest cultural event etc. Pantanal is not different as it is the world’s largest fresh water wetland far bigger than any comparable place. There are so many rivers that flow through this area which lies slightly slanted. The strange thing about this fresh water wetland is that until recently only movie people knew about its existence, still it is not getting the attention it deserves.
A sea within land
It is said that early explorers to this region took it for a sea seeing the flooded Pantanal! The word ‘Pantanal’ originated from Portuguese word ‘pantano’ meaning marsh land. The Pantanal is 190,000 sq km in area and its major portion comes under
Amazon snatched its title
This unique eco system is home to world’s most diverse varieties of plants. This credit of hosting the largest variety of plants and animals is generally attributed to Amazon Forests that being more researched due its accessibility. This title is actually due to Pantanal as it hosts greater number of animals and plants. It is the inaccessibility of these marshy Pantanal areas that made it less popular among scientists and naturalists and consequently deprived it the due status.
A crater that got filled
Pantanal can be described as a gigantic reservoir with the size of the State of
Majority of the Pantanal area belongs to
The Pantanal is compared to a giant sponge above 300 feet above sea level; which equals the state of
A unique eco system
Those who are interested in watching wild life in its natural settings no place offers so much of them, the biodiversity of this area is astonishing 3500 species of plants, 650 species of birds, 400 species of fish, 100 species of mammals, 80 species of reptiles are just some of the inhabitants of this wonderful land. It is believed that about 10 million of crocodiles live here comfortably. Pantanal is home to the famous ‘Hyacinth Macaw’ a parrot like bird which is included in the ‘endangered list’; it is said that a pair of this bird fetches about $ 10,000 in the black market.
hyacinth macaw pantanal image courtesy: ecotourismblog.com
10 million crocodiles to guard!
Animals like capybaras, caimans (about 30 million), jaguars, giant otters, giants of snakes like the famous anacondas, birds like kites, hawks, storks, hyacinth macaws, all are there as much as you can count, you never can count the crocodiles that live around it is more than 10 million! In Fazenda of Rio Negro alone biologists have discovered about 25 species of snakes 11 species of lizards and 400 varieties of birds!
The life cycle that goes on!
During rain as rivers rise to swallow the plains farmers who use this land for grazing cattle retreat to higher places, fish and amphibians have happy times; mammals and other animals seek asylum on hillocks found here and there but plants and trees which can’t move face the tide they are adapted to flooding and grow as usual. When water starts to recede the reverse is the order, mammals are a happy lot they roam free, while poor fish get trapped in to some puddles to be eaten by predators; and the farmers come back with their cattle. This cycle goes on repeating every year.
Let Pantanal live!
Though bestowed with so many animals and plants Pantanal is not a tourist spot, there are very few roads to travel and the place remains submerged for about 5months in a year; swamps infested with crocodiles. The region of late has become victim to human interference like cattle grazers, gold miners and iron and steel plant that uses charcoal of burned trees from the locality as raw material etc.