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The Brazilian Pantanal

The Pantanal is the world's largest freshwater wetland, a spectacular refuge of lakes, waterways, and islands stretching for mile upon mile. The area floods every season and as a result there is a huge diversity of species. For example, 3,500 species of plants, 102 species of mammals, 652 species of birds, 177 reptiles, 40 amphibians, and 264 fish live here.

The conservation challenge, as set out by the Earthwatch Institute, is this:
'Although the Pantanal has supported low-impact cattle ranching for two centuries, the region's remoteness has historically protected its striking diversity of wildlife and habitats from more extreme human impacts. That is changing, as falling beef prices drive more intensive cattle ranching, uncontrolled sport fishing upsets the aquatic food web, and black-market demand for pets robs the forest of parrots and macaws.'
We want to try and build on an existing but tenuous link we have with a school that is focussed on providing education and skills for the people who live here....people who are needed to work the Pantanal in a traditional way such as low-impact cattle ranching but who can also develop and gain from the sensitive development of eco-tourism without destroying the very systems that support them.