Wildlife

South America is "the Bird Continent", with much higher avian diversity than any parts of the world. It also contains much more tropical rainforest than other regions. South America's largest animals are the Blue Whale in water and the Brazilian Tapir on land.

Jaguars

Jaguars in the Pantanal weigh up to 350 pounds (150 kilos), while the same species in the Amazon or Central America reaches only 160 pounds (73 kilos). Normally almost impossible to see in Belize or Amazon, at our site in north-central Pantanal, a "Jaguar Miracle" has occurred. Since 2000, strict protection from hunting and abundant caimans and Capybaras on the riverbanks have made Jaguars uniquely easy to see on 95% of the days, often for hours per day. We have shown Jaguars to our guests more than 3,500 times since we first guaranteed Jaguar viewing in 2006.
June through November
Wilson, a large male Jaguar, was first photographed by our team in 2005 on the Tres Irmãos River In 2011 moved territory to the Piquirí River. A jaguar drinks calmly in front of our Jaguar observation boats. A female Jaguar killing a caiman by crushing its skull, all in full view of our guests. Geoff, a young male, hesitated to cross the river to join his mother, who was calling him from the opposite bank. Eventually he crossed, but she met him in mid-stream and dunked him repeatedly.

Pumas

SouthWild now offers another first, namely daytime viewing of the other big cat of the Americas, the sleek, elegant Puma. You will enjoy watching this 60-kilo predator hunting and relaxing in the open in the daytime in specific valleys that we monitor near Torres del Paine National Park. Since 2008, our trackers and guides have shown diurnal Pumas to every one of 30 groups of guests. Nowhere else in the world can you regularly see this beautiful feline, which at our site hunts the abundant, wild Guanacos (a native camel species).
A male Puma slinks along in full view of our guests. Pumas blend into the grassy landscapes, but our trackers use their 40 years of combined Puma-tracking experience to use a unique set of cues to find the cats. We spent 4 hours observing this individual lying relaxed on the hill side. March and April are the best months to observe mothers with cubs. This mother Puma allowed us to observe her cubs in their safe hiding place in the rocks.

Giant otters

SouthWild's Jaguar Flotel not only is champion in Jaguar viewing, but also in Giant Otters. This hyperactive, group-living top predator is seen better and more easily at our Jaguar Flotel than anywhere else on Earth. At 30 kilos and two meters long, these powerful otters even attack and scare away Jaguars. Luckily, these otters, which live in groups of 3-12, do not consider humans to be potential prey, but instead hunt only fish of all sizes. Each season, our guests enjoy close-up viewing and photography of parent otters teaching small cubs how to swim and hunt.
Giant Otters near SouthWild Jaguar Flotel are the most habituated in the world and are easy for our guests to observe at close range. Thanks to the abundance of fish in the Pixaim River, the habituated Giant Otters at SouthWild Pantanal have up to five cubs in June-September. If followed patiently our guests can stay with an otter group for several hours during their fish hunt. Once satiated, Giant Otters spend much of their time tussling and grooming one another in full view of SouthWild guests.

Maned Wolves

SouthWild offers the only location in the world where you are guaranteed to see the shy, graceful Maned Wolf. The world's tallest wild canid, this long-legged, 25-kilo wolf is considered to be the most attractive wild member of the canid family. This endangered wolf is a solitary, specialized hunter of large rodents and birds in the tropical savannahs and open, dry woodlands of Brazil and Bolivia. Our Wolf Camp is located at Brazil's little-known, spectacular, new Parnaíba Headwaters National Park. This dramatic park, which is the world's largest protected dry tropical forest, is easily accessible from Brasília by short jet flight and 3.5-h drive on asphalt.
A male wolf poses in afternoon light near the camp. Normally very shy and and skittish, the Maned Wolf nevertheless is curious by nature and every evening sniffs and hunts around the edge of the camp. A Maned Wolf in front of the camp. A family of three carefully approches the camp at night.

Pink Amazon River Dolphins

These dolphins are a year-round delight, while for seasonal cetacean fun, we offer whale watching on the Atlantic coast of Bahia, Brazil and Patagonian Argentina and the Pacific Coast of northern Peru. In many parts of the Amazon, you can catch brief, distant glimpses of shy Pink Dolphins catching their breaths. SouthWild, however, has discovered and takes you to a magical bay 50 km from Manaus, Brazil, where you can swim in the warm waters of the mighty Rio Negro while unconfined, wild Pink Dolphins visit you and come within touching distance. This particularly friendly pod of dolphins gives you the experience of a lifetime.
The Atlantic and Pacific coasts of South America are home to dozens of species of whales and dolphins. Two species of freshwater dolphins live in the Amazon River and most of its tributaries. SouthWild proved that several years of protection combined with daily fieldwork can convince wild Pink Dolphins to accept visits from our guests. SouthWild takes you to swim with wild, unconfined Pink Dolphins in the rivers of the Amazon basin.

Macaws

The founders of SouthWild are professional conservation biologists specializing in macaws, among other species. We wrote the 1994 cover story on macaws for National Geographic Magazine. During field research for New York Zoological Society, World Wildlife Fund, and the CITES convention in Peru, Brazil, and Bolivia, we discovered unique clay licks, roosts, and nesting colonies of thousands of threatened macaws. SouthWild now offers unique, specially-designed photo tours to the most eye-popping macaw locations, where one can see and photograph Hyacinth, Red-and-Green, Scarlet, Blue-and-Gold, Blue-throated, and Red-fronted Macaws.
At 1 m long and weighing 1.5 kilos , the Hyacinth Macaw is the largest of the world's 345 species of parrots. Most tropical trips in South America show you large macaws at a great distance. SouthWild shows them to you at close or VERY close range. SouthWild guests spend hours observing macaws at close range while the colorful birds play, allogroom, and eat wild nuts, fruits, and clay. In the savannas north of Brasília, SouthWild shows guests flocks of scores of Hyacinth Macaws at 10-25 m, and in excellent light.

Penguins

Of the 10,000 species of birds in the world, the 17 kinds of Penguins are uniquely fascinating to humans. For this reason, SouthWild calls penguins "honorary mammals". The most accessible penguins in the world for travelers from "the North" are the endangered Humboldt Penguins, which live in the cold waters of the tropical coast of Peru.
Humboldt Penguins concentrate on guano islands of the Pacific coast of Peru. These penguins are visible less than 1 h by car south of Lima. The Ballestas Islands south of Lima harbor guano birds, sea lions, seals, and Humboldt Penguins. A new roosting colony of King Penguins suddenly appeared on Tierra del Fuego, Chile. King Penguins now roost only 3 h by car from the jetport of Punta Arenas, Chile. The birds are habituated, and visitors are strictly controlled by the owners of this new, private reserve.

Monkeys

Tool-using Capuchin Monkeys: In 2001, SouthWild scientists were the first to discover and publish in National Geographic the news of the world's most complex tool use by non-human primates. We found that Tufted Capuchins deploy special hammer rocks to crack nuts on sandstone anvil rocks at Brazil's Parnaíba Headwaters National Park (also see Maned Wolf, above). These ingenious monkeys, who now appear regularly on international TV, demonstrate their tool use in full view for delighted SouthWild guests. The primatologists whom SouthWild invited to the site ten years ago are particularly interested in how adult monkeys teach the young how to use the hammer rocks. July and August
The Capuchin Monkeys in this part of the Cerrado use specially-selected stones to crack hard nuts on anvil rocks. Golden Lion Tamarins in rainforest near Rio have recovered from near extinction and now are receiving visitors. Different species of Howler Monkeys are widely distributed in tropical South America. Here a family group relaxes in the Pantanal. Squirrel Monkeys are found through the Amazon and live and forage in groups of 70-100.

Giant Anteaters

The Giant Anteater is one of the most spectacular animals in the world. This 2-m-long, 40 kg (88-pound) insectivore lives in grasslands and grassy woodlands of tropical South America. It accesses ants and termites by breaking open their nests using powerful foreclaws and lapping up the insects with a long, sticky tongue.
Giant Anteaters are 40-kilo denizens of the Brazilian savannas. Giant Anteaters are shy, but near-sighted. SouthWild's methods allow guests to get 'up close n personal' with oblivious, happy, foraging anteaters. SouthWild guides are highly-trained in the art of stalking and approaching Giant Anteaters such that the anteater is not disturbed and keeps digging. We will take you to the best places in the Pantanal to experience Anteaters first hand.