Five years ago, I took a gamble and traveled to Brazil's Pantanal wetlands to try and photograph wild jaguars. I had only seen a jaguar once before, in Peru – over a decade before – but had not managed to get a picture. Suffice it to say, therefore, that in the intervening years seeing jaguars again had become a bit of an obsession with me. So when I started hearing rumors of jaguar sightings on a regular basis, I bought a ticket for Brazil. Once on location, I chartered a small boat, hired a local guide, and spent nine days in the sweltering heat following two small jungle rivers in search of these secretive cats. By the end of that time, I had seen nine different jaguars, including an astonishing five in one day. Even so I got only a handful of photos - including the one above - at the time, one of very few shots of wild jaguars ever taken.
Now, of course, the location is much-better known, and photographers like Tom Mangelsen and Steve Winter have recently spent as long as a month there. Some amazing pictures have emerged already, and I'm sure there are more on the way, assisted by a new, full-time tourism operation on site run by legendary tropical biologist Charlie Munn.
I will probably not be back anytime soon, tempting as it is, preferring to go after other, less-well-known subjects. But for anyone with a love of big cats, rarely seen or photographed anywhere else on Earth - this is an amazing experience that I can't recommend enough. For more information, have a look at : http://www.jaguarresearchcenter.com/