River Wolf or Lobo de río is the very evocative Spanish name for one of the South America’s rarest and most dazzling mammals, the Giant River Otter (Pteroneura brasiliensis).
Seeing and photographing the elusive otter has been on my priority list for a long time. In June 2007 I made my first attempt, but bad weather prevented my final flight into the Amazonian Ecuador. Two years later in 2009 I visited the floorplain of Manu National Park in south-eastern Peru, home to around 20 families or 100 individuals of these large otters, but after a full week’s stay in this otherwise exciting National Park, I had still no images of the Giant River Otter.
The Giant River Otter range is across North-central South America; it lives mainly in and along the Amazon River Delta and in the Pantanal. Its distribution has been greatly reduced and is now discontinuous.
Some five year later after more research I had an opportunity to spend two weeks in the Pantanal, which is the world’s largest wetland area located mostly within the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul.
The Pantanal is Brazil’s wildlife wonderland. However, like most other places on our plant, Latin America is no longer a safe continent for large mammals and many are Endangered like the Giant Otter. However, this time I was not to be disappointed.