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  • Writer's pictureSophie Baumgartner

Presenting Project Brazil

Updated: Jun 7, 2023

Back in 2019, Manuel and Sophie were on a mammalwatching (what else?) trip in Brazil. We planned a visit to Emas National Park to try to observe its symbol, the Maned Wolf, but especially the Pampas Cat.

The drive there was already impressive but in a negative sense. We drove for hours through intensive agriculture and saw a dead maned wolf and a dead tapir on the way, victims of fast traffic. This was tragic but nature totally suprised us once again: It seemed that these animals were able to survive in intensive agriculture even though they only had a very small corridor of wilderness next to a river left.

The Emas itself seemed to us like a paradisiacal island in the midst of this intensive agriculture. It seemed to us like the last stronghold of the Brazilian Cerrado (the Brazilian savannah). And apparently it is: The Cerrado is very threatened and protected zones are very rare. The Emas National Park is the only national park in the Cerrado.

The Emas gave us great encounters: one evening we not only had a great maned wolf observation but also saw a puma on the way back! The next day we were lucky enough to observe our big goal, the Pampas cat.

Besides the animals, we met the couple Ana and Marcos. Ana runs the guesthouse 'Pousada do Gloria' ( and Marcos is the manager of the national park. We found them both to be incredibly passionate and committed and the stronghold would not be one without them.

We have never forgotten them and when we founded 'Felis' we were determined to support them. Ana already had the right idea: She wanted to create children's books to raise awareness about the Emas National Park and its inhabitants. Educating children can potentially have a very big effect. The books would not only reach the children, but also their parents, would stay in the school library and then reach more and more children over time,. If only a few can suddenly get excited about this topic, it could make a huge difference in a few years.

Long discussions and many preparations later, we are now ready to start the project and hope that we will be able to finance it with the help of a foundation.

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I visited Emas National Park on an Earthwatch trip many moons ago to assist as a volunteer on Jaguar research. We never saw any Jaguars, only paw prints, but we did see Maned Wolves and Pampas Cats - a melanistic one. Both species were captured and fitted with collars to track their movements, so it was great to see them up close. Good to see ongoing conservation in the area, it is a lovely place. Good luck with your project!

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