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Adam Bannister


Londolozi Alumni

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on The Pantanal Series: Cattle and Wildlife

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Simon Bellingham

A great article however I am compelled to make a correction for the readers sake and to the benefit of the Jaguars and Pantanal. The cattle are actually not an essential component of Jaguar diet; there are large areas in Brazil where no cattle exist and Jaguars thrive! What I feel has bolstered the Jaguar population at Caiman is the owners approach to all wildlife; no wild animals are allowed to be hurt or harassed at Caiman and there are no dogs allowed on the property. This respectful approach to the wildlife has significantly added to the food available to Jaguars. When starting the Jaguar habituation project at Caiman I carefully studied each Jaguar scat that I came across and to my pleasant surprise, seldom found evidence of cattle in their diet. I sincerely believe that killing a cow (especially a full grown animal) is a big undertaking for a Jaguar and that they would far rather kill a small juicy indigenous animal if given the opportunity. In short, I believe that if you want to save cattle, Jaguars and the wildlife of this magnificent region the first proactive step would be to be respectful of all its wildlife. Interestingly there is a research document to back up this point of view that was conducted by a researcher while working very close to Caiman!

Thanks for this compelling read



Thanks Simon for the great input – Adam

Jen - INDRI Ultimate Mammal Voyages

Hi Adam,

I thoroughly enjoyed your blog and agree with your sentiments. I too was very suspicious about calling an area with cattle a wilderness area, but after spending time at Caiman I realized that although cattle ranching occurs on the property it is a superb wilderness area. Caiman is home to some of the best wildlife viewing in Brazil and possibly the best wildlife viewing in the whole of South America!!! An opportunity to witness first hand the cowboy/ranching culture that has characterized this region ever since the first European settlers arrived certainly enhances the overall guest experience. Look forward to seeing you in September☺!!!


Very interesting. I have been to the rainforests of Peru and did run into some smaller areas with cattle-but nothing of Brail’s size. I did visit Tanzania, where the Masaai herd cattle right in lion country, but they do kill lions that take cattle.

The lions there seem to show a healthy fear of Masaai vs the tourists and seem to be able to tell the difference or at least that was what I was told by the guides and some masaai when I visited their village. The Gir forest of India also have lions and the lions do take the occasional cow or buffalo-but the government compensates them.

I wonder if this were possible in other parts of Africa. But in lion country, both the Masaai and the Indians take their cattle away at night and corral them. I can imagine hyenas and a big pride of lions can make short shrift of a herd of cows in the open. But jaguars are just bigger than a leopard I think and are solitary-so probably much fewer deaths, by leaving cows in the open-probably take yearlings and calves???

Sue Edmunds

I saw a tv documentary about the Pantanal and fell in love with it and it’s wildlife immediately. It was able to give us only a tiny glimpse of such a magnificent area though and hopefully there will more more documentaries to watch.

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10 April, 2798
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