Road ecology blog: the dirt roads of the Pantanal

July 19, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

The Pantanal is the world's largest tropical wetland. It has incredible biodiversity and wildlife is relatively easy to observe. However, it is not easy to access the area. The roads are impassable for most of the year. However, in the winter (July-August) some of the roads can be used. A high clearance 4x4 vehicle is not a luxury here. We were fortunate to have the support of Mitsubishi and Adventure Camp for our wildlife expedition. The Mitsubishi L200 Triton Savana is a hard core 4x4 without frills. Since it is not very heavy, it is less likely to get stuck. It gets you where you need to go. It is a great work truck; it simply gets the job done.

 

Images below: The road north of Aquidauana got us deep into the southern Pantanal. The "road" is really a 4-5 km wide corridor with many two-tracks that are braided like a river. You have to figure out the best route for yourself. Inevitably you will come across some tricky spots where it pays to be careful. Always check the depth of the water and potential alternative routes. Going fast gets you stuck fast. It is best to be careful and use your brain.

Mitsubishi 4x4, L200 Triton Savana, on wildlife expedition to thMitsubishi 4x4, L200 Triton Savana, on wildlife expedition to thMitsubishi 4x4, L200 Triton Savana, on wildlife expedition to the Pantanal, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil

Tricky spot on dirt road, Mitsubishi 4x4, L200 Triton Savana, onTricky spot on dirt road, Mitsubishi 4x4, L200 Triton Savana, onTricky spot on dirt road, Mitsubishi 4x4, L200 Triton Savana, on wildlife expedition to the Pantanal, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil

Image below: Fernanda Abra is not afraid to get her feet dirty and check water depth before we drive through.

Fernanda Abra is not afraid to get her feet dirty and check wateFernanda Abra is not afraid to get her feet dirty and check wateFernanda Abra is not afraid to get her feet dirty and check water depth before we drive through, Pantanal, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil

Mitsubishi 4x4, L200 Triton Savana, on wildlife expedition to thMitsubishi 4x4, L200 Triton Savana, on wildlife expedition to thMitsubishi 4x4, L200 Triton Savana, on wildlife expedition to the Pantanal, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil Mitsubishi 4x4, L200 Triton Savana, on wildlife expedition to thMitsubishi 4x4, L200 Triton Savana, on wildlife expedition to thMitsubishi 4x4, L200 Triton Savana, on wildlife expedition to the Pantanal, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil

Image below: Here we enter the area of the "Onças do Rio Negro" ("jaguars of the Rio Negro") area. This is an initiative of local ranchers to protect the Pantanal ecosystem including the jaguar.

Entering the jaguar (onça-pintada) project area with the MitsubEntering the jaguar (onça-pintada) project area with the MitsubEntering the jaguar (onça-pintada) project area with the Mitsubishi 4x4, L200 Triton Savana, on wildlife expedition to the Pantanal, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil

Images below: Peter Crawshaw, a jaguar researcher, has a lot of experience driving the roads in this area. I am certain I would have gotten us stuck many times whereas he was always able to get us through.

Peter Crawshaw drives the Mitsubishi 4x4, L200 Triton Savana, onPeter Crawshaw drives the Mitsubishi 4x4, L200 Triton Savana, onPeter Crawshaw drives the Mitsubishi 4x4, L200 Triton Savana, on wildlife expedition to the Pantanal, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil

Mitsubishi 4x4, L200 Triton Savana, on wildlife expedition to thMitsubishi 4x4, L200 Triton Savana, on wildlife expedition to thMitsubishi 4x4, L200 Triton Savana, on wildlife expedition to the Pantanal, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil Mitsubishi 4x4, L200 Triton Savana, on wildlife expedition to thMitsubishi 4x4, L200 Triton Savana, on wildlife expedition to thMitsubishi 4x4, L200 Triton Savana, on wildlife expedition to the Pantanal, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil Mitsubishi 4x4, L200 Triton Savana, on wildlife expedition to thMitsubishi 4x4, L200 Triton Savana, on wildlife expedition to thMitsubishi 4x4, L200 Triton Savana, on wildlife expedition to the Pantanal, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil

Images below: The southern Pantanal has many ranches (fazendas). The road has dozens of gates to keep cattle on the properties. Fernanda Abra did more than her share of opening and closing the gates.

Going through a gate, Mitsubishi 4x4, L200 Triton Savana, on wilGoing through a gate, Mitsubishi 4x4, L200 Triton Savana, on wilGoing through a gate, Mitsubishi 4x4, L200 Triton Savana, on wildlife expedition to the Pantanal, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil

Going through a gate, Mitsubishi 4x4, L200 Triton Savana, on wilGoing through a gate, Mitsubishi 4x4, L200 Triton Savana, on wilGoing through a gate, Mitsubishi 4x4, L200 Triton Savana, on wildlife expedition to the Pantanal, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil Going through a gate, Mitsubishi 4x4, L200 Triton Savana, on wilGoing through a gate, Mitsubishi 4x4, L200 Triton Savana, on wilGoing through a gate, Mitsubishi 4x4, L200 Triton Savana, on wildlife expedition to the Pantanal, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil

Images below: The bridge across the Rio Negro.

Crossing the Rio Negro, Mitsubishi 4x4, L200 Triton Savana, on wCrossing the Rio Negro, Mitsubishi 4x4, L200 Triton Savana, on wCrossing the Rio Negro, Mitsubishi 4x4, L200 Triton Savana, on wildlife expedition to the Pantanal, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil Crossing the Rio Negro, Mitsubishi 4x4, L200 Triton Savana, on wCrossing the Rio Negro, Mitsubishi 4x4, L200 Triton Savana, on wCrossing the Rio Negro, Mitsubishi 4x4, L200 Triton Savana, on wildlife expedition to the Pantanal, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil

Click here for other images of the Pantanal.

Click here for other images of dirt roads in the southern Pantanal.

Click here for other images of animals that were killed by cars.

Click here for other images of animals alive on or near roads.

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