Giant otters face down jaguar trespassing in their territory

As one of Brazil’s apex predators there’s little that can give a jaguar paws for thought – except as it turns out, giant otters.

Researchers travelling by boat in the Pantanal tropical wetlands captured this hilarious video showing the interactions between the big cats and the otters living along the São Lourenço River.

It shows a young jaguar who has strayed near the otters’ favourite feeding spot and a den full of young pups, resulting in a whole group ganging up to scare her away.

In a blog post on the encounter, Ailton Lara, Director at Pantanal Nature, explains Ague, a 3-year-old female, chose to to sit in the wrong spot to take in the river view.

First, a single otter approaches the long on which she is sitting, splashing and making loud calls. It is then joined by several more.

She explains: “First alerting the alpha male of the situation with loud vocalizations, the frenzied group of otters proceeded to storm up to Ague from the water, screaming and dashing in front of her.

“It was clear that their intimidation tactics were working, as continuous, flicking tail movements indicated the jaguar’s fear response.

“Meanwhile, the dominant male otter, who had been separated from the group scouting new den sites, came onto the scene after hearing alarm calls.

“Ague, realizing that the fierce male was coming to the aid of his group, pulled an impressive maneuver that only cats are known to perform–turning around almost in a somersault–to flee the otter mob.”

Despite her close encounter, Ague, not deterred, returned to sit in the shade of the same tree the following day.

Days later, Ailton adds, the otters moved to a new spot more than two kilometers down the river to a previously used nest with an entrance closer to the water.

Researchers at Panthera believe the the Brazilian Pantanal has the highest density of jaguars in the world.

The Pantanal, meaning swamp or marsh in Portuguese, is the largest continental wetland in the world. Encompassing an area of at least 150,000 square kilometers the Pantanal lies mostly in the Brazilian states of Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul.

Eighty percent of the Pantanal floods during the wet season, where water levels can rise as high as three meters.

In the Porto Jofre region to the north Panthera Brasil, an organisation dedicated to preservation of big cat species, owns a 10,000-hectare ranch dedicated to wildlife conservation, research, jaguar conflict resolution and community education.

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