The Pantanal covers 210,000 km² of floodplain. This UNESCO heritage site comprises parts of three countries: Bolivia, Paraguay and Brazil. About 140,000 km² alone are located in the Brazilian states of Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul.
The seasonal flooding dynamics of the Pantanal play a key role in the ecology and land use by local inhabitants. In fact agriculture is not an option in this environment. Cattle ranching is the sole major economic activity. The Pantanal is one of the richest biodiversity sites and claims the most mature ecotourism industry. At least 2,000 plant, 650 bird, 260 fish, 40 amphibian, 177 reptile and 124 mammal species can be found in the Pantanal.
After the Amazon basin, the Pantanal is the largest continuous stronghold for jaguars. However, the jaguar-rancher conflict in Brazil represents a significant ongoing threat to the jaguar population here. Illegal retaliation toward the jaguars is known to occur widely in this biome.
Since 2001 the Jaguar Conservation Fund/Instituto Onca-Pintada has been working in the Pantanal regions of Miranda, Aquidauana, Nhecolandia and Rio Negro. The JCF/IOP, in partnership with the pharmacy company Mantecorp, created the first private jaguar reserve called the Reserva Particular de Proteção Natural (RPPN). This reserve is located on the Barranco Alto ranch and protects 450 hectares (1,111 acres) of the best jaguar habitat in the region.