Brazil jaguars find safe haven from floods in rainforest trees

Brazilian jaguars, imperiled by hunters, ranchers and destruction of their habitat, have learned to survive at least one menace — flooding in the Amazon. They take to the trees! 

Although they can be six feet long and 200 pounds, the largest South American cats nimbly navigate treetops where they stay from April to July when the rainforest floor is under meters-deep water.

“It shows that even as a large animal, the jaguar can withstand the flooding — feeding, breeding and raising its young in the treetops for three to four months,” says Emiliano Ramalho, the lead researcher for Project Iauarete, which is administered by the Instituto Mamirauá. (Reuters)

Photography by Bruno Kelly/Reuters

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<p>A female adult jaguar sits atop a tree at the Mamiraua Sustainable Development Reserve in Uarini, Amazonas state, Brazil, June 5, 2017. (Photo: Bruno Kelly/Reuters) </p>
Brazil jaguars find safe haven in rainforest trees

A female adult jaguar sits atop a tree at the Mamiraua Sustainable Development Reserve in Uarini, Amazonas state, Brazil, June 5, 2017. (Photo: Bruno Kelly/Reuters)

<p>The sun sets at the Mamiraua Sustainable Development Reserve in Uarini, Amazonas state, Brazil, Feb. 9, 2018. (Photo: Bruno Kelly/Reuters) </p>
Brazil jaguars find safe haven in rainforest trees

The sun sets at the Mamiraua Sustainable Development Reserve in Uarini, Amazonas state, Brazil, Feb. 9, 2018. (Photo: Bruno Kelly/Reuters)

<p>A research team works at the floating research base of the Mamiraua Institute in the Mamiraua Sustainable Development Reserve in Uarini, Amazonas state, Brazil, March 7, 2018. (Photo: Bruno Kelly/Reuters) </p>
Brazil jaguars find safe haven in rainforest trees

A research team works at the floating research base of the Mamiraua Institute in the Mamiraua Sustainable Development Reserve in Uarini, Amazonas state, Brazil, March 7, 2018. (Photo: Bruno Kelly/Reuters)

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<p>Tourists with local guides search for jaguars on top of the trees at the Mamiraua Sustainable Development Reserve in Uarini, Amazonas state, Brazil, May 19, 2016. (Photo: Bruno Kelly/Reuters) </p>
Brazil jaguars find safe haven in rainforest trees

Tourists with local guides search for jaguars on top of the trees at the Mamiraua Sustainable Development Reserve in Uarini, Amazonas state, Brazil, May 19, 2016. (Photo: Bruno Kelly/Reuters)

<p>A boat sails past the Mamiraua Sustainable Development Reserve in Uarini, Amazonas state, Brazil, May 16, 2016. (Photo: Bruno Kelly/Reuters) </p>
Brazil jaguars find safe haven in rainforest trees

A boat sails past the Mamiraua Sustainable Development Reserve in Uarini, Amazonas state, Brazil, May 16, 2016. (Photo: Bruno Kelly/Reuters)

<p>A black male jaguar looks out from atop a tree at the Mamiraua Sustainable Development Reserve in Uarini, Amazonas state, Brazil, June 7, 2017. (Photo: Bruno Kelly/Reuters) </p>
Brazil jaguars find safe haven in rainforest trees

A black male jaguar looks out from atop a tree at the Mamiraua Sustainable Development Reserve in Uarini, Amazonas state, Brazil, June 7, 2017. (Photo: Bruno Kelly/Reuters)

<p>Lead researcher Emiliano Esterci Ramalho from the Mamiraua Institute uses a radio device to locate jaguars at the Mamiraua Sustainable Development Reserve in Uarini, Amazonas state, Brazil, May 30, 2017. (Photo: Bruno Kelly/Reuters) </p>
Brazil jaguars find safe haven in rainforest trees

Lead researcher Emiliano Esterci Ramalho from the Mamiraua Institute uses a radio device to locate jaguars at the Mamiraua Sustainable Development Reserve in Uarini, Amazonas state, Brazil, May 30, 2017. (Photo: Bruno Kelly/Reuters)

<p>Researcher Diogo Maia Grabin (L) and his assistant Railgler dos Santos from the Mamiraua Institute install camera traps at the Mamiraua Sustainable Development Reserve in Uarini, Amazonas state, Brazil, Feb. 9, 2018. (Photo: Bruno Kelly/Reuters) </p>
Brazil jaguars find safe haven in rainforest trees

Researcher Diogo Maia Grabin (L) and his assistant Railgler dos Santos from the Mamiraua Institute install camera traps at the Mamiraua Sustainable Development Reserve in Uarini, Amazonas state, Brazil, Feb. 9, 2018. (Photo: Bruno Kelly/Reuters)

<p>An alligator, part of the jaguars’ diet, surfaces at the Mamiraua Sustainable Development Reserve in Uarini, Amazonas state, Brazil, Feb. 11, 2018. (Photo: Bruno Kelly/Reuters) </p>
Brazil jaguars find safe haven in rainforest trees

An alligator, part of the jaguars’ diet, surfaces at the Mamiraua Sustainable Development Reserve in Uarini, Amazonas state, Brazil, Feb. 11, 2018. (Photo: Bruno Kelly/Reuters)

<p>The Mamiraua Sustainable Development Reserve is seen in Uarini, Amazonas state, Brazil, May 16, 2016. (Photo: Bruno Kelly/Reuters) </p>
Brazil jaguars find safe haven in rainforest trees

The Mamiraua Sustainable Development Reserve is seen in Uarini, Amazonas state, Brazil, May 16, 2016. (Photo: Bruno Kelly/Reuters)

<p>Yellow-hooded blackbirds fly over the Mamiraua Sustainable Development Reserve in Uarini, Amazonas state, Brazil, Feb.25, 2018. (Photo: Bruno Kelly/Reuters) </p>
Brazil jaguars find safe haven in rainforest trees

Yellow-hooded blackbirds fly over the Mamiraua Sustainable Development Reserve in Uarini, Amazonas state, Brazil, Feb.25, 2018. (Photo: Bruno Kelly/Reuters)

<p>Research assistants from the Mamiraua Institute check a tree where they spotted a jaguar at the Mamiraua Sustainable Development Reserve in Uarini, Amazonas state, Brazil, June 1, 2017. (Photo: Bruno Kelly/Reuters) </p>
Brazil jaguars find safe haven in rainforest trees

Research assistants from the Mamiraua Institute check a tree where they spotted a jaguar at the Mamiraua Sustainable Development Reserve in Uarini, Amazonas state, Brazil, June 1, 2017. (Photo: Bruno Kelly/Reuters)

<p>A black male jaguar climbs down a tree branch at the Mamiraua Sustainable Development Reserve in Uarini, Amazonas state, Brazil, June 1, 2017. (Photo: Bruno Kelly/Reuters) </p>
Brazil jaguars find safe haven in rainforest trees

A black male jaguar climbs down a tree branch at the Mamiraua Sustainable Development Reserve in Uarini, Amazonas state, Brazil, June 1, 2017. (Photo: Bruno Kelly/Reuters)

<p>Research assistant Railgler dos Santos from the Mamiraua Institute installs traps to catch jaguars at the Mamiraua Sustainable Development Reserve in Uarini, Amazonas state, Brazil Jan. 22, 2018. (Photo: Bruno Kelly/Reuters) </p>
Brazil jaguars find safe haven in rainforest trees

Research assistant Railgler dos Santos from the Mamiraua Institute installs traps to catch jaguars at the Mamiraua Sustainable Development Reserve in Uarini, Amazonas state, Brazil Jan. 22, 2018. (Photo: Bruno Kelly/Reuters)

<p>A camera installed in a trap captures a glimpse of a jaguar at the Mamiraua Sustainable Development Reserve in Uarini, Amazonas state, Brazil, Feb.13, 2018. Mamiraua (Photo: Handout/Reuters) </p>
Brazil jaguars find safe haven in rainforest trees

A camera installed in a trap captures a glimpse of a jaguar at the Mamiraua Sustainable Development Reserve in Uarini, Amazonas state, Brazil, Feb.13, 2018. Mamiraua (Photo: Handout/Reuters)

<p>A jaguar cub, stands atop a tree during a flood at the Mamiraua Sustainable Development Reserve in Uarini, Amazonas state, Brazil, June 5, 2017. (Photo: Bruno Kelly/Reuters) </p>
Brazil jaguars find safe haven in rainforest trees

A jaguar cub, stands atop a tree during a flood at the Mamiraua Sustainable Development Reserve in Uarini, Amazonas state, Brazil, June 5, 2017. (Photo: Bruno Kelly/Reuters)

<p>A black male jaguar lies tranquillised by researchers from the Mamiraua Institute at the Mamiraua Sustainable Development Reserve in Uarini, Amazonas state, Brazil, March 6, 2018. (Photo: Bruno Kelly/Reuters) </p>
Brazil jaguars find safe haven in rainforest trees

A black male jaguar lies tranquillised by researchers from the Mamiraua Institute at the Mamiraua Sustainable Development Reserve in Uarini, Amazonas state, Brazil, March 6, 2018. (Photo: Bruno Kelly/Reuters)

<p>Researcher Diogo Maia Grabin prepares to tranquillise a black male jaguar at the Mamiraua Sustainable Development Reserve in Uarini, Amazonas state, Brazil, March 6, 2018. (Photo: Bruno Kelly/Reuters) </p>
Brazil jaguars find safe haven in rainforest trees

Researcher Diogo Maia Grabin prepares to tranquillise a black male jaguar at the Mamiraua Sustainable Development Reserve in Uarini, Amazonas state, Brazil, March 6, 2018. (Photo: Bruno Kelly/Reuters)

<p>A researcher from the Mamiraua Institute captures a black male jaguar at the Mamiraua Sustainable Development Reserve in Uarini, Amazonas state, Brazil, March 6, 2018. (Photo: Bruno Kelly/Reuters) </p>
Brazil jaguars find safe haven in rainforest trees

A researcher from the Mamiraua Institute captures a black male jaguar at the Mamiraua Sustainable Development Reserve in Uarini, Amazonas state, Brazil, March 6, 2018. (Photo: Bruno Kelly/Reuters)

<p>Veterinarian Louise Maranhao from the Mamiraua Institute examines a black male jaguar after capturing him at the Mamiraua Sustainable Development Reserve in Uarini, Amazonas state, Brazil, March 6, 2018. (Photo: Bruno Kelly/Reuters) </p>
Brazil jaguars find safe haven in rainforest trees

Veterinarian Louise Maranhao from the Mamiraua Institute examines a black male jaguar after capturing him at the Mamiraua Sustainable Development Reserve in Uarini, Amazonas state, Brazil, March 6, 2018. (Photo: Bruno Kelly/Reuters)

<p>A researcher from the Mamiraua Institute examines a black male jaguar after capturing him at the Mamiraua Sustainable Development Reserve in Uarini, Amazonas state, Brazil, March 6, 2018. (Photo: Bruno Kelly/Reuters) </p>
Brazil jaguars find safe haven in rainforest trees

A researcher from the Mamiraua Institute examines a black male jaguar after capturing him at the Mamiraua Sustainable Development Reserve in Uarini, Amazonas state, Brazil, March 6, 2018. (Photo: Bruno Kelly/Reuters)

<p>A researcher from the Mamiraua Institute puts a GPS collar on a black male jaguar after capturing him at the Mamiraua Sustainable Development Reserve in Uarini, Amazonas state, Brazil, March 6, 2018. (Photo: Bruno Kelly/Reuters) </p>
Brazil jaguars find safe haven in rainforest trees

A researcher from the Mamiraua Institute puts a GPS collar on a black male jaguar after capturing him at the Mamiraua Sustainable Development Reserve in Uarini, Amazonas state, Brazil, March 6, 2018. (Photo: Bruno Kelly/Reuters)

<p>A researcher from the Mamiraua Institute uses a radio device to check if any traps were activated by jaguars at the Mamiraua Sustainable Development Reserve in Uarini, Amazonas state, Brazil, Feb. 9, 2018. (Photo: Bruno Kelly/Reuters) </p>
Brazil jaguars find safe haven in rainforest trees

A researcher from the Mamiraua Institute uses a radio device to check if any traps were activated by jaguars at the Mamiraua Sustainable Development Reserve in Uarini, Amazonas state, Brazil, Feb. 9, 2018. (Photo: Bruno Kelly/Reuters)

<p>The Mamiraua Sustainable Development Reserve is seen in Uarini, Amazonas state, Brazil, May 16, 2016. (Photo: Bruno Kelly/Reuters) </p>
Brazil jaguars find safe haven in rainforest trees

The Mamiraua Sustainable Development Reserve is seen in Uarini, Amazonas state, Brazil, May 16, 2016. (Photo: Bruno Kelly/Reuters)

<p>A heron is seen in the Mamiraua Sustainable Development Reserve in Uarini, Amazonas state, Brazil, March 7, 2018. (Photo: Bruno Kelly/Reuters) </p>
Brazil jaguars find safe haven in rainforest trees

A heron is seen in the Mamiraua Sustainable Development Reserve in Uarini, Amazonas state, Brazil, March 7, 2018. (Photo: Bruno Kelly/Reuters)

<p>A female adult jaguar, which has a cub, growls at the Mamiraua Sustainable Development Reserve in Uarini, Amazonas state, Brazil, June 5, 2017. (Photo: Bruno Kelly/Reuters) </p>
Brazil jaguars find safe haven in rainforest trees

A female adult jaguar, which has a cub, growls at the Mamiraua Sustainable Development Reserve in Uarini, Amazonas state, Brazil, June 5, 2017. (Photo: Bruno Kelly/Reuters)

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