Are there any conservation projects in this area that you are particularly excited about?
In the Amazon, during the wet season, the jaguar leaves the soil and starts living in the treetops. With incredible ecological flexibility, the feline changes behavior to continue on in its territory, even as water floods the floodplain of the world's largest rainforest. This is one of the conclusions of research carried out by the Iauaretê Project of the Mamirauá Institute, a research unit of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation.
The information collected by the project serves as a basis for the maintenance of the jaguar observation tourism program, carried out only during the wet season (end of April to mid-June in that region of the Amazon) and maintained in partnership with Uakari Lodge. The Project is centred in the state of Amazonas, but it is one of the most interesting ones involving ecotourism in the Amazon Rainforest for me.
In the Pantanal the Onçafari Project [which NWS Tristan visited on his trip to Brazil] is really exciting too. The idea is to make jaguars habituated and behave in the same way as the wildcats in Africa when they see a car (the process does not involve domestication, such as offering food, and the selected cats remain wild.) The objective is to attract more tourists, get farmers more interested in the tourism of animal observation and generate new job opportunities for the people of the region, as well as help in the conservation of the jaguar and, consequently, its habitat. Onçafari is also the first project to successfully reintroduce jaguars in the Pantanal, and they are now planning to reintroduce them into the Amazon.