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We CAN All Get Along

I am honored to have been named to the Board of Directors of American Public Square where civility in dialogue and courteous interaction are offered up as a model for society. Local Pantanal Brazilian Public Square members Mr. & Mrs. Capybara and son and Mr. Caiman meet to discuss current Cuiabá River events. Their civility is to be held up as an example for all to see.large_CapybaraCaimanHarmony.JPG

Motoring along the Cuiabá, content that we have seen everything we came here to see and that I have photographed everything I came here to photograph--with one exception being good shots of giant river otters--we happen across: GIANT RIVER OTTERS! And, as the Russell Luck would have it, they led us directly to their den. These creatures are just like the otters you know and love save for the fact that they are big...giant actually, 5 to 6 feet long. They move quickly, hyperactive, twisting and turning here and there making the capture of great photographs difficult because they tend to blur. I got lucky here however. None of these shots will win an award but they give you an example of what these wonderful creatures are like. Don't cross them, however, as they are ferocious. In a pack like this they can successfully fight off a jaguar.large_GiantRiverOtterCU.JPGlarge_GiantRiverOtterHead.JPGlarge_GiantRIverOtterDen1.JPGlarge_GiantRIverOtterDen2.JPGlarge_GiantRIverOtterDen3.JPG

Later, we achieve our tenth jaguar sighting. We have tallied eight individual cats. We saw one on three different occasions. We have seen them hunt and we have seen them mate. We have seen them alert and we have seen them dozing. We have seen them more than we had any right to; Gene and I are impressed beyond our expectations.

This female was prowling, hunting, searching; stealthy and silent and fascinating to watch. As she stalked potential prey, we--from the river--stalked her. large_JaguarInTheWeeds.JPGlarge_JaguarOnTheBank.JPGThe suspense was high, silence in our boat (and the one other boat along side us) was the rule. As a guide once said to my family while we were on safari in Africa many years ago: "Let the cameras talk." When you are fortunate enough to be around people who can maintain silence in situations such as these you can hear the brush rustle, the birds call out warnings and the splash of caiman alert to approach. It is sublime. For me, this is the height of travel--I know many cannot see the value in this--but I love it.

Tonight, Gene and Tom and I are being joined at Jaguar Retreat by nine other people for dinner. I have no idea who they are but I look forward to dining with them. Gene speaks fluent Portuguese and for Tom that is his native tongue. For me it is--as it would be for most Americans--a mystery. I hope some among them can work in a bit of English to humor me. We shall see on this final evening here; but it doesn't matter. I am overjoyed by our time here.

PS: An inquiry was made regarding the name of the guard dog featured in an earlier post. I asked. The dog has no name. After its mother was eaten by a jaguar, the staff determined that it was best to not become very attached to the K9 residents of Jaguar Retreat. In an effort to minimize familiarity, the dog was not given a name to minimize the emotional toll when it ultimately meets its end. Such is life in the Pantanal.

Posted by paulej4 16:20 Archived in Brazil Tagged caiman pantanal cuiabá jaguars

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