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Historical rescue of caimans in Pantanal

Transpantaneira Road

MT, Brazil


As a result of a drought never seen in the last 50 years, the largest floodplain in the world has turned into a desert. Along the MT-060 highway, Transpantaneira, there are few streams that still have a minimum amount of water for the survival of the species. During the 2021 drought, one stream caught the eye of experts. Under bridge 3 of the highway, there was a body of water that before, even during the drought, housed hundreds of healthy caimans (Caiman yacare). This time, these animals appear huddled together, dehydrated and malnourished.

In scenarios like this, alligators can adopt a strategy called brumation, in which they decrease their metabolism and save their last energy during the dry season. However, in view of the analysis of specialist veterinarians and biologists, the situation seen was critical and many animals would die malnourished. Furthermore, the conditions of the water body would not be conducive to this behavior.

Tanker truck operations were carried out at the site to fill the stream, however, under 40 degrees of sunlight, all added water was lost on the same day. As the only remaining alternative, in one of the largest rescue operations ever seen in the Pantanal, the Animal Rescue Group in Disasters (GRAD), in partnership with the Brazilian Institute for the Environment and Renewable Resources (IBAMA), carried out the relocation of more than 65 individuals in critical condition. An operation that took 4 days to be completed.

Click on the images to see the explanatory caption.

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