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Pantanal

Deep in the Brazilian wetlands , a jaguar named Amanaci was recently rescued from raging fires in the Pantanal- the world’s largest wetland, situated in Brazil.

She is undergoing an experimental stem cell treatment after surviving the deadly wildfires blazing through the wetlands since July.

She was rescued by volunteers from the NEX Institute in Brazil- an NGO dedicated to protecting endangered wild cats. Few are as lucky as jaguar.

Pantanal may not be a popular name, but tourists in the neighbourhood countries flock there because it is home to exceptionally high concentrations of breathtaking wildlife: jaguars, tapirs, endangered giant otters and bright blue hyacinth macaws. The wetland bloats with water during the rainy season and empties out during the dry months. This phenomenon has a name which symbolised beating heart: the flood pulse.

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Now the unprecedented wildfires in these wetlands have destroyed more than one-fifth of the Pantanal. The Pantanal stretches across Brazil, Bolivia, and Paraguay, and is one of the planet’s most biodiverse ecosystems. This year’s fires have already destroyed near one-fifth of the great wetland which is larger than Greece. Wildfires have nearly killed an estimated 600 jaguars in Pantanal.

Its countless swamps, lagoons and tributaries purify water and help prevent floods and droughts. They also store untold amounts of carbon, helping to stabilize the climate.

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Now scientist say climate change is only making the problem worse. At least 22 percent of the Pantanal in Brazil has burned since January, with the worst fires, in August and September, blazing for two months straight.

Naturally occurring fire plays a role in the Pantanal, in addition to the burning by ranchers living near the wetlands. The flames are usually contained by the landscape’s mosaic of water. But this year’s drought sucked these natural barriers dry. The fires are far worse than any since satellite records began, burning more tress and causing more damage.

Climate change poses a grave threat to the ecosystem, damaging bio diversity and impairing its ability to help regulate water for the whole of South America, and carbon for the world. In less than 20 years, majority of the northern Pantanal may turn into a savanna or even an arid zone.

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Infact, humans are digging their own grave now. There are many solutions: reduce climate change immediately. Practice sustainable agriculture in and around the wetland. Pay ranchers to preserve forests and other natural areas on their land. Increase ecotourism. Do not divert the Pantanal’s waters, because its flood pulse is its life.

Everybody talks about it. But little is done.