Jaguar and Environment Monitoring in Iguazu National Park

////Jaguar and Environment Monitoring in Iguazu National Park

Jaguar and Environmental Monitoring in Iguazu National Park

The National Park of Iguazu protects the largest area of Atlantic Forest remaining. This is considered the second most diverse ecosystem in the world after the Amazon and one of the most threatened biomes in the world, as it is believed that less than 8% of the original Atlantic Forest is left . The park is populated by a huge diversity of species representative of the Brasilian Flora and Fauna, many of which are considered endangered such as the Jaguar, the Broad-snouted Caiman,  the parrot Vinaceous-breasted Amazon among others. The Iguazu Water Falls and surrounding protected areas is the first region of Brazil to have been designated by UNESCO as World Heritage Site. The park extends over Brazil and Argentina, hence it is managed by both authorities in cooperation. 

Iguazu National Park receives 1,5 million visitors per year, which puts pressure on the flora and fauna of the area. One of the biggest concerns  is the impacts on the Jaguar populations, which is an endangered species.  Not only directly but also indirectly through road accidents that kill some of its prey. Therefore the park authorities monitor both: the Jaguar population and the species affected by the road traffic very regularly with the aim of setting measures to avoid the impacts. Another issue of concern is the quality of the water due to other human activities in the area, which is also submitted to regular monitoring.

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Due to the extensive number of visitors that come to Iguazu every year, the national park authorities’ main task is to try to minimise the impact that the volume of visitors can cause. Iguazu National Park is the biggest patch of Atlantic forest left. One of the most threatened forests in the world, as only 7% of the original habitat remains. Hence this is one of the few refuges left of the Jaguar Panthera onca, which is in the category of nearly threatened in the the IUCN red list.  For these reasons most of the work of the conservation unit of the park is geared up to assess the status of the Jaguar populations that live in the park, as an indicator of the conservation status of the area.

The nearest town is Foz Iguazu, which is also where you arrive to the airport. Your accommodation is ten minutes from the airport.

This project provides participants with the unique opportunity to be inserted in a real work environment and assist the National Park specialists on different projects to assess and mitigate environmental impact on the flora and fauna in Iguazu National Park.

You could be helping the park with their everyday tasks in some of the following projects.

  • Jaguar Monitoring: setting camera traps, analysing footage and participating in field surveys.
  • Water quality analysis: collecting samples and analysing it in the lab.
  • Survey of road kills to identify areas and species affected.
  • Data analysis
  • Communications or other activity required by the park

You will receive the required training and will not be asked to undertake any dangerous activity.

We arrange your accommodation during your project work as close as possible to Iguazu National Park, on the Brazilian side. If you book more than two months in advance we can secure your accommodation at the Eco-hostel, which is the closest one to the park, so you can walk to the park entry in the mornings to go to work. If you stay in a room with small a number of people (up to 3) you can sleep in normal beds (subject to availability), or in bunk beds if you choose occupancy above 4 people per room, or if the size of the group you travel with requires it.

This project provides the unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the work undertaken by a national park authority to preserve natural resources.

Previous participants have come out enriched with better understanding of what a real job in natural resources management entails and how can they best use their skills in a work environment. They also report to have gained

  •  Practical experience that stands out in their CV and puts them ahead of the competition.
  •  Satisfaction of being able to use their skills to help a worthy cause.
  • Learned new skills
  • Learn some Portuguese language
  • Feel the incredible privilege of being able to use Iguazu national park as their working ground.

And the they stay beaming for weeks after the experience for having visited without a doubt one of the most magnificent places in the world.

4 weeks     6 weeks      7 weeks     8 weeks                                                                                       

£ 1120           £ 1665           £1935          £ 2225

The price includes: Accommodation, with a choice of breakfast and dinner, daily transport to work, project placement and necessary training, 24/7 helpline for guidance support and emergencies. All projects atract a booking fee of £250

I study Physics, I had a great time at Iguazu especially with the jaguar monitoring project. I came to the realisation that I am perhaps in the wrong career path/ degree.  So I am now planing to do a master’s in environmental conservation to be able to work in that field in the future. Fergus

I study biological sciences and came to Iguazu attracted to work in the communications projects. Seeing all the other work areas within the park office, made me realise that I prefer the area of data management, rather than communications as a work to pursue in the future.  Hanna



I study engineering and I came to Iguazu to help with their data management work. I really enjoyed seeing how my skills can be used to help conservation. It was a fantastic experience. I could not stop talking about it, the whole summer after I returned.  John  See my blog here

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