Pantanal Relief Fund
In an effort to help and support the people of the Pantanal that are like family to us, the Pantanal Relief Fund was created through Climb for Conservation, by April Kelly and Abbie Martin, of the Jaguar Identification Project.
The Northern Pantanal is on fire and needs our help! It is with heavy hearts we are asking for your donations, which will be sent to the Pantanal for firefighting efforts and covid-19 relief assistance.
Fires in the Northern Pantanal
Wildfires have a network of negative effects on the environment and the people that inhabit the area. Wildfires directly kill a vast array of species of all orders big and small, especially when the animals that cannot escape the flames quickly. Species that live in the Pantanal and are already struggling to survive on today’s planet are further being pushed to extinction at an alarming rate. Apart from the direct killing, many animals lose their shelter and feeding sources, especially in the areas of riverine forest. Aside from this, when the rains finally do come, tons of ashes will reach the river systems and lagoons, killing millions of fish and fouling the water sources.
The current fires are located in and around all of the major communities throughout the Pantanal, including the world famous Transpantaneira and Porto Jofre region.
Fires in the Pantanal are not an irregular thing, in fact each dry season fires naturally occur. However, after each dry season, the rainy season comes, followed by seasonal flooding across the entire region. This hydrologic cycle naturally keeps these fires in check, but this year the rains and flooding were extremally mild, resulting in the driest rainy season in the last 50 years.
These fires that naturally die out have not done so this season, and instead are spreading out of control. Fires that are thought to have been put out, are unfortunately reappearing days later as they continue to burn under the surface.
To access Porto Jofre you have to cross 90 wooden bridges. The local people are working endlessly to keep these bridges from burning down; clearing out the dry, flammable vegetation and creating fire breaks throughout the heavily affected areas.
The fires, combined with Brazil’s current economic crisis and lack of resources from the government, has forced Pantanal locals to take matters into their own hands in the fire fighting efforts. Many tour operators, lodge owners and associates have volunteered to come help fight the fires. They have given their safari trucks to load water in and rigged their jaguar viewing boats to fight the fires from the river, in an attempt to stop the spread from entering the State Park, which is now only a rivers width away from the fires. They have even opened their lodge doors to accommodate all the fire fighters coming in, providing food and water, and are now too, on the front of the lines, desperately trying to save what they still can.
The Pantanal and Its People
In 2000, the Pantanal was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Sitebeing known as the largest tropical wetlands in the world. It is located mainly in Brazil’s southwestern states of Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul, just below the Amazon rainforest. It’s a mosaic of seasonally flooded wetlands, grasslands, and woodlands and represents an extremely biodiversehome to thousands of plant and animal species; including the elusive jaguar.
The Pantanal is one of the most remote and pristine places for wildlife viewing in South America, representing optimal jaguar habitat and the only place in the world to observe these cats in the wild. Depending on the year’s floods and drought, it is estimated to be 140,000 and 195,000 square kilometers (54,000-75,000 square miles). Around 80% of the Pantanal gets flooded during the rainy season (November-April), supporting an astounding biologically diverse collection of aquatic life which in turn helps support an enormous range of terrestrial life. Until now new flora and fauna are still being documented and studied in the Pantanal. There are approximately 3500 known plant species, 700 bird species, 265 fish species, 95 mammalian species, and 162 reptile species. Making the Pantanal a biological hot spot with the jaguar as the apex or keystone species; playing an extremely important role in regulating the populations of prey species.
For this reason, the Pantanal people rely heavily on ecotourism as their main source of income, as wildlife photographers and filmmakers from all over the world come to this part of South America for unique wildlife footage.
The Pantanal is home to over 200,000 inhabitants, including many indigenous tribes and cultures throughout the area.
Due to the impact of covid-19, the people and communities of the Pantanal have taken a massive hit to their livelihood’s as they are no longer able to provide for and support their families because of the lack of tourism, governmental support and work available. Not only are the local people struggling to feed their families, but now they are faced with the dire threat of losing their homes to these uncontrolled fires.
Four Peruvian wildlife photographers have come together to help the Brazilian Pantanal during this hard moment. The Pantanal is going through one of the largest fires in its history, over 250,000 hectares have burned, animals aren’t able to escape or are severely injured and people without work (due to the effect of COVID-19), residents are without money or resources and are receiving little support from the government agencies.
Our idea is to donate two pictures each for sale, 100% of the money collected will be donated to help support this place, its people, flora and fauna during this catastrophic time.
Buy your print here and 100% of donations will go to helping this cause