Jaguar cub takes a refreshing dip – Pantanal, Brazil 2022

Jaguar cub takes a refreshing dip. It had been another seriously hot day in Brazil’s Southern Pantanal. The mosquitoes were giving us and this Jaguar cub a torrid time. The cub began to head to a small waterhole and we followed. The Jaguar cub had a long drink and then settled down into the water as the mosquitoes buzzed around its head. As its tail dipped into and out of the water it sent curving sprays of water into the air. Jaguars are very at home in the water. Eventually, the Jaguar cub moved back to the shade in the bushes.

This cub had been abandoned when she was just seven months old and was still quite small being just 10 months old. It had been a surprise that she had survived. It seems that she had been scavenging on carcasses including those of fallen cattle on the ranch. Despite being very young and small she had been seen chasing other, larger Jaguars of another carcass, so she had plenty of character. We hoped this would stand her in good stead and she would survive. Her mother had had a litter of two: this female cub and a male cub. The mother and male cub were still together and it was unclear why the female cub had been abandoned. This had been the mother’s first litter so the abandonment may simply have been due to inexperience.

The Pantanal is the world’s largest tropical wet land and flooded grasslands. Whilst mostly located in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul, it also extends into Mato Grosso and parts of Paraguay and Bolivia. It covers an area of up to 195,000 square kilometres (75,000 square miles) and some 80%of the floodplains are submerged during the rainy season. It is a remarkable place.