Aerial view of the Paraguay River, Pantanal, Mato Grosso, Brazil. rel=
Aerial view of the Paraguay River, Pantanal, Mato Grosso, Brazil.

The world’s largest freshwater wetland system

What and where
The Pantanal is the world's largest freshwater wetland system, extending over 180,000km2 through central-western Brazil, eastern Bolivia and eastern Paraguay. The name Pantanal is derived from the Portugese for wetlands.

The Pantanal is one of the world's most productive habitats. Annual floods, fed by tropical rains, create a giant nursery for aquatic life, including 270 species of fish. As the waters recede in the dry season, the Pantanal attracts a great influx of birds and other animals - one of the region's greatest natural phenomena.

This pristine landscape is brimming with the greatest concentration of wildlife in South America, including an estimated 3,500 species of plants, 102 species of mammals, 650 species of birds, 177 reptiles and 40 amphibians. An estimated 30 million caimans share this wetland paradise with anteaters, anacondas, capybaras, peccaries, tapirs, jaguars, maned wolves, rheas, and hyacinth macaws.

The Pantanal is a wetland so enormous that early European settlers thought they had discovered a great inland sea!

When compared to other wetlands in the world the Pantanal is regarded as the most preserved, but less than 2% is under federal protection.

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