Karma is a Cat

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By Christina Armstrong, WWF’s Development Officer, Regional Philanthropy, East

Taylor Swift’s chart-topping music Karma off her Midnights album was on repeat in my head in Brazil’s Pantanal whereas on Natural Habitat’s Jaguars & Wildlife expedition in July 2023. Yes, the music is a present, fashionable launch, and I really like Taylor Swift, and music typically, however the purpose the music was in my head was as a result of our superb Expedition Leader, Zapa, saved repeating to our group, “Karma!” Then, I might sing to myself, “Karma is a cat,” from Taylor’s music, as we looked for jaguars alongside the riverbeds within the coronary heart of the Pantanal, Brazil.  

Guide and guests spotting a jaguar from the boat in the Pantanal, Brazil

© Christina Armstrong / WWF-US

“Why would Zapa say that?” you could be questioning. As one of many first Natural Habitat Pantanal teams in 2023, we estimated that we noticed 146 species of birds and 177 species of animals in simply six days. I couldn’t even title that many species in a single sitting, not to mention comprehend how inspiring it could be to expertise one of many world’s most biodiverse areas. Did you already know that the Pantanal is generally privately owned? About 95%! 

We noticed quite a few threatened and close to threatened species residing their greatest lives, similar to jaguars mating, big anteaters carrying their younger on their backs, big otters chomping on contemporary fish over a log alongside a riverbed of mangroves, marsh deer sniffing native, vibrant-colored flowers, and hyacinth macaws constructing a house in an modern field with their lifelong mate.

A hyacinth macaw in the Pantanal

© Aaron Clausen / WWF

WWF has accomplished nice work with hyacinth macaws on this area, and it was fascinating to study concerning the significance of sure bushes that macaws have to construct their nest. They desire tender bushes referred to as manduvi palm bushes which have been lower down by means of the years – destroyed by deforestation, fires, clearing for cattle pastures, or logged for furnishings and different merchandise. The problem is that even when these bushes are replanted, the macaws will solely make their nests within the ones which are 60-80 years previous, so it takes a whole era to regrow one manduvi tree.

As an alternate resolution, WWF and different native packages created nesting containers to encourage the macaws to construct their nests. They additionally wrapped the bushes in a metallic strip in order that predators couldn’t make their manner up the bushes and destroy the nests. This has been an enormous success within the return of hyacinth macaws, and it was rewarding to study that WWF performed an element within the return of the macaws.

WWF additionally has labored to guard jabiru storks, which we noticed a number of occasions, and jaguars are a rising precedence inside WWF’s present wildlife technique. It was fascinating to see jaguars up shut (but at a protected distance), swimming throughout the river, hopping from department to department, and snoozing within the sunshine, like my puppies do. “Karma!” 

In addition to fauna, we noticed the flora of the Pantanal. The sensible pink ipê tree bloomed throughout the area as we flew from the North Pantanal to the Southern area. This vibrant tree is just in bloom for about 7-10 days a yr normally in August or September. It was the tip of June and serendipitously, we had been there to see it.

Ipe tree in bloom, Brazil

© Christina Armstrong / WWF-US

The luck continued as we noticed the tail of a jaguarundi because it ran throughout our path and capuchins performed above our heads. That night, a tapir ran by our tour automobile as foxes danced within the highlight. While the jaguars had been readily seen, I didn’t count on to see the elusive puma in the course of the day, however we did.

The researchers had jaguar traps arrange by means of varied areas within the Pantanal, and one morning, we shortly drank our espresso, scurried into the tour automobile, and drove across the different facet of the lake of the place we had been staying to see that one of many traps had safely captured a puma, and it’s presently the one puma on the earth to be collared.  

Karma is a cat… 

Two jaguars (Panthera onca) doze on a tree in the Pantanal, Brazil.

© Kelvin Brown

About the Author

Christina Armstrong joined WWF in 2022 on the philanthropy workforce, working with supporters up and down the East Coast of the United States. She’s led fundraising groups on causes starting from households experiencing homelessness to serving to youth in Latin America by means of enrichment and vitamin programming. Christina has a ardour for music, touring, and mountain climbing along with her husband and two Frenchies 

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