ABOUT THE PANTANAL
Brazil’s Pantanal is the largest wetland and floodplain in the world. With an area of about 250 thousand km², the Pantanal extends through Bolivia, Paraguay, with approximately 62% in Brazil’s states of Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul.
The Pantanal is fed by the Paraguay River and its tributaries that contribute to the flooding, forming extensive marshy areas. The Pantanal has two distinct weather patterns - periods of heavy rain, which take place from November to March, and the 'dry season' between April and September.
In the rainy season, water starts to accumulate in the Pantanal wetlands. Roughly 80% of the Pantanal floodplains become submerged during the rainy season, nurturing a diverse range of aquatic plants and animal species.
During the dry season, water is found only in river beds, lakes and wetlands. When the waters recede, they leave a rich layer of nutrients in the soil, which support extensive vegetation. This is also the best time to see and photograph wildlife - at the river.
The Pantanal is also where the largest and healthiest population of jaguars (panthera onca) resides. Surveys have additionally registered 325 species of fish, 53 amphibians, 98 reptiles, 656 birds and 159 mammals. Other unique species in the Pantanal are the Hyacinth macaw (Anodorhyncus hyacinthinus), endangered due to smuggling, and the Jabiru Stork (Tuiuiú in Tupi-Guarani), which is an iconic symbol of the Pantanal. There are additionally thirteen species of herons and egrets, six species of ibises and spoonbills, and five species of kingfishers use Pantanal as a breeding and feeding ground. Nineteen species of parrots have been documented in the Pantanal, including five species of macaws.
For further reading on ecotourism and protecting wildlife in the Pantanal versus cattle ranching this is a very good article: