Jaguar encounter filmed at Caiman Ecological Refuge
Posted by Jonathan Rossouw
Oncafari Jaguar Habituation Project
This Jaguar encounter was filmed at Caiman Ecological Refuge, an estancia situated 35km north of the town of Pocone, in the southern Pantanal wetlands of Brazil. A working cattle ranch, Caiman Ecological Refuge has been the focus of Oncafari, a bold Jaguar habituation initiative aimed at creating a sustainable partnership between ecotourism-conservation interests and the cattle ranching that is, as has been for centuries, the principle way of life in Brazil’s Pantanal. A vast shallow floodplain that inundates seasonally to form a tropical wetland ten times the size of Botswana’s Okavango Delta, the Pantanal boasts wildlife every bit as rich as its more famous African counterpart. Prolific birdlife, the highest concentration of crocodilians on Earth, and healthy populations of Capybaras, peccaries and deer are all present… but it’s the Jaguars for which Caiman has become most famous.
Jaguar encounter at Caiman Ecological Refuge
The Oncafari Jaguar habituation process involves gradually increasing the tolerance of these animals to the presence of vehicles, with people on board, through techniques that prioritize respect for the Jaguars. The success of Oncafari is evident in the relaxed manner in which these two female Jaguars, Gaia and her daughter, Leen lounged about at the edge of a pond in the late afternoon, occasionally coming down for a drink and eventually immersing themselves completely to cool off! Gaia is a famous Jaguar at Caiman, being the daughter of Esperanca, one of the first Jaguars ever to be habituated. She was found by the Oncafari team at her den when she was barely 6 days old, and has been followed ever since, growing up to be a small but bold and beautiful Jaguar. She and her daughter seem to be fairly sociable, often associating with her siblings, and with Leen’s cousin, Ipe.
Find out more about visiting the Pantanal on our Brazil tours page.