nature

To the friends of the Pantanal Lodge - Fazenda Barranco Alto

Dear Friends,

Another year is over and looking back to our encounters with nature and men we can think of many great experiences, some big, some small. In March, a rather different type of bird - „
earthrounders“ Angela and Flemming Pedersen – visited Barranco Alto coming all the way from Switzerland in a Mooney airplane, called Honeymooney. On their last day a very curious anaconda decided to have a better look at the airplane’s engine...

Anaconda on mooney, Angela Flemming, 3/06

It was a very good year for viewing our smaller cats such as pumas, ocelots, margays and jaguarundis. Jaguars did not want to give us the pleasure of being seen very often, but there were daily signs of them being around us. At one point a big male decided to wake us all up with his strong roar, walking only a few meters past us as we were sleeping at the cottage by the river.
A young puma by Morton Nagel, 5/06Jaguar male tracks by Lucas Leuzinger, 12/06

Adult puma male by Felix Richter, 10/06With canoe descents taking place twice a week, we have finally figured out the distribution of giant otters on our 18 km strip of river. Our five-member „rancho“ family had 2 babies in April, forcing them to enlarge their territory. After 2 weeks of stressful fights, “curses”, running back and forth just in front of the lodge, the “discreet“ couple who had lived here for a few years had to give away some 2 km of river downstream. Month after month we were able to observe the babies coming out of their nest, growing bigger, learning to fish becoming more independent. As we were watching them, they also became used to our presence. We gave each animal a name: “Logradouro”, “Gordo” (the fattest and biggest giant otter male we have ever seen, with a very nice character), “Pinta”, etc. Giant otters are very social and do everything in family. Watching them over long periods tends to make us humanise them, giving each animal its character. Hopefully we shall have many more chances to follow up on this family’s life story.

Giant otters with young by L. Leuzinger, 9/06Our friendly hyacinth macaw couple, which lives on the big Tarumã tree by the river, has not given up the idea of having a chick. Over the last 3 years the couple had endured the most dramatic and tragic situations, such as toucan attacks (toucans are their worst nest predators), wind and storms, which killed either their eggs or newly born chicks. This year they mated for many months without any sign of egg laying. Then, at some point in August/September, they disappeared into their hole in the tree and were barely ever seen. They lost a lot of weight and were quite stressed even with the presence of known people like us. Finally, just recently they have managed to have this year’s baby chick which is now flying over our heads !!!

Hyacinth macaw couple by L. Leuzinger, 8/06Hyacinth macaws mating by L. Leuzinger, 9/06Hyacinth macaw chick by Lucas Leuzinger, 11/06Last, but not least, we made a big step forward from the farming and conservation point of view: we have bought 1500 hectares of “Pantanal de Aquidauana”. Fazenda Barranco Alto (until now only right side of the Negro river, “Pantanal da Nhecolândia”) has widdened its wings over the other side of the river, which has always been a big dream of the Schweizer-Leuzinger family.
Some of our guests were present and enthusiastically supported us during the dramatic moments of negotiation and final sale. After that, the MacMillans were the first ones to explore and even sleep over one rainy night at the new area, naming one of the lakes the “Don Gregorio lake”.
Walking, riding and canoeing through a completely different type of vegetation – Lucas has already found 2 palm tree species that do not exist on the right side of the river – shall offer our newcomers, but also our “second and third” time visitors, some adventurous hours exploring this new land.

Satellite image, Landsat 7, 2003We thank you all for the many good hours that we were able to spend with you. In 2007 we hope to realize new dreams which are born through the interesting conversations, suggestions and good ideas of our guests.

View from the airplane by L. Leuzinger 11/06


We wish you a Happy New Year!


Marina, Lucas, Leticia and Ana Emília Leuzinger

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