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PLEASE SUPPORT THE
PANTANAL WILDFIRE RESCUE TEAMS!

The Pantanal is home to some of the richest biodiversity in the world.  In this unique ecosystem every living plant and animal helps support the other. 

 

The Pantanal has been hit hard by extreme weather conditions from climate change.  The normal weather patterns in the Pantanal used to be a dry and wet season.  Normally the rains come to the Pantanal by mid-November - but not this year.  The heavy rains still haven’t appeared as of November 23).  Increasingly high temperatures with highs ranging between 105F – 110F for weeks, they are experiencing drought, with less water in the rivers and ponds, making the area very prone to wildfires. 

 

I was in 'Meeting of the Waters' State Park (aka 'Jaguarland') last month, and could see plumes of smoke in the distance (heartbreaking!). Then a few days later lighting touched down and strong gusts of wind came along to fan the flames for even more intense fires.  To make matters worse, the daytime temperatures were over 110F, with no rain in sight.  The fires raged out of control for weeks, and ultimately burned over 40% of the State Park – and 2.5 million acres (over 1 million hectares) overall, across two states om Brazil that are home to the Pantanal. 

 

The Brazilian government was extremely responding with help to put out fires, leaving local volunteer organizations  to their best to deal with the situation with minimal outside support. (See this story for details).  https://www.cbsnews.com/news/brazil-wildfires-pantanal-wetlands-2023-animal-deaths/)

The fires hop-skipped through the Pantanal in Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul leaving some patches of green and swaths of ash behind.

 

BUT there is still hope and good news....

I have been in touch with key people on the front lines - particularly biologist, Gustavo Figureiroa, of SOSPantanal.org and Abbie Martin of the Jaguar Identification Project. They report that the jaguars in Meeting of the Waters State Park (where the largest concentration of wild jaguars live) have survived.  Many of them survived similar wildfires in 2020, so their survival skills truly impressive.

 

Gustavo confirmed that the Pantanal is resilient so much vegetation will grow back for the 2024 eco-tourism season for nature lovers and photographers to enjoy next year. 

 

That said, trees, vegetation, and smaller, slower creatures (like snakes, caiman, porcupines, armadillos) could not escape in time.  Without them the entire food chain has been disrupted.  SOS Pantanal and similar organizations are bringing food and water into the Park for the survivors, while they look for others who need treatment for dehydration or burns.  Their efforts were very successful in 2020 and they released a number of healed animals back into the State Park.  (See https://news.mongabay.com/2020/11/video-vets-hail-victory-as-jaguar-burned-in-pantanal-fires-returns-to-wild/).

 

I have personally donated to SOS Pantanal and Jaguar ID Project as they are on the front lines and doing what’s needed to help save the animals there - and they are the ones making sure the fires are truly put OUT.   

These organizations could use our support, so if you are moved to send something - anything - every little bit will help!

 

Here are the links for their websites:

SOSPantanal (they use Paypal) - the exchange rate is around 5 Brazilian Reis to $1 U.S. Dollar

https://www.sospantanal.org.br/apoie/#doacoes

 

Jaguar Identification Project they also use Paypal and accept dollars

https://www.jaguaridproject.com/fire-fundraiser

Thank you for your support!

Stephanie Arnow

Founder, Nossa Terra Tours

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