Pantanal: heart of South America

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This vast habitat is the world’s largest freshwater wetland – an immense, landlocked river delta covering large part of the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul and tracts of Bolivia and Paraguay.

Each year this enormous basin is engulfed with rainwater bringing with them an amazing diversity of life to the dry grasslands. Here, jaguars, tapirs and macaws rub shoulders with thousands of other species of bird, reptile, mammal and fish, making it one of the most diverse places on the planet.

Yet, the Pantanal is much more than a magical wetland. It also acts like a giant sponge, slowly releasing the flood water throughout the year and helping to protect millions of people further downstream.

But now, changes to agriculture threaten this astonishing landscape.

In this film Rob Shore, head of Wetland Conservation at the Wildfowl & Wetland Trust, Michael Becker, conservation director at WWF-Brazil, environmental economist Pavan Sukhdev, and lead scientist with The Nature Conservancy Dr M Sanjayan reveal the richness of life supported by the Pantanal but also the contribution this great wetland makes to the life of people living far beyond its limits.

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