Fundação Grupo Boticário de Proteção à Natureza

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Jaguarwatching and Birdwatching in the Araguaia Valley

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Posted by Douglas Santos on 24-11-2016 - Last updated on 24-11-2016

The ecotourism and contemplative tourism focused on fauna observation are great alternative to biodiversity conservation. The people see some species like a problem, because this kill them, for example the jaguar. But if this species can contribute to local socio-economic development, the people will effort to their conservation. Therefore we propouse the ecotourism development in the Araguaia Valley, in order to develop local economy, and create viable consrvation mecanisms.

Why the Jaguar ?

 The "surrogates" or key species which their protection, consequently also help to conserve the lot of other species, are very important to contemplative tourism. Caismatic species, generally attract more tourists. The jaguar is a carismatic specie as well as a key specie, because it is an apex predator, and to protect jaguar, we need also protect their prey and habitat.

Why the Cerrado?

The Cerrado is the richest savanna and one of the world's hotspots ecosystem, but currently is very threatened because mainly of the agricultural expansion.  It is the second largest Brazilian biome, and its central strategic location, which connect the other four Brazilian biomes, makes of the Cerrado's corridors a very important key to jaguar dispersion, to avoid genetic diversity loss and population isolatation.

Why in the Araguaia Valley?

The main jaguar corridor in the Cerrado is the Araguaia Valley, because it still have a lot of riparian vegetation along Araguaia River, with rich diversity of preys such as caimans, peccaries, capybaras, fishs, and other mammals and reptiles.  Furthermore, in some areas of the Araguaia Valley there are viable jaguar populations, wich lives in minor areas and major density, due the preys abundance. For example, in a natural reserve which have 4000 hectare of protected area, where we have tracked jaguar for 2 years, we have recorded at least 7 jaguars by our camera traps.
The Araguaia River have more than 2000 km, and is part of the Amazonian Basin, being known like Amazon-Pantanal Corridor,  due to link these 2 biomes, together with the Taquari River. However the land use changes have pushed at risk the jaguars dispersion, and their populations may be isolated.  

Successful experience

In the Pantanal, ecotourism based on jaguar observation has been increased over the past 30 years, and currently offers employment and economic development to local communities. Furthermore, tourism has contributed to increase jaguar populations.Recently, a study showed a dead jaguar can avoids US$ 2500 in livestock predation damages. While alive jaguar can generates US$ 65,000 in revenue from tourism.