Brazil’s Emerald Oasis

As the dry season sets in across the Pantanal, thousands of small rivers run dry, lakes drain away and seasonal lagoons evaporate, leaving a mosaic of cracked earth. That’s how the yearly story goes. But there is one lake that breaks the rules. This emerald oasis has never been known to give up its waters completely and it attracts creatures from miles around as the surrounding forest dries out. Situated in the heart of Jaguarland, when the lake is brimming with water, its banks are hard to distinguish from the surrounding wetland. Lowland tapirs bulldoze through the undergrowth and splash noisily in the water. Weighing in at up to 600 pounds, the tapir is South America’s largest mammal. Related to both horses and rhinos, they are sometimes known as ‘living fossils’. They have waded through wetlands like these for more than 40 million years.