“The Maya said its skin was like the night sky. The jaguar was the gatekeeper to the underworld.”

Steve Winter makes his living photographing some of the world’s wildest places and creatures for National Geographic: whether it’s Kamchatka bears in Russia or snow leopards in Ladakh, India. This month’s Smithsonian magazine features his stunning images of jaguars in Brazil’s Pantal wetlands.

Map of the Jaguar Corridor InitiativeIllustrated map of the Jaguar Corridor Initiative. (image: Panthera Foundation)

Winter’s photographs illuminate the story of the Jaguar Corridor Initiative, which aims to create a “jaguar freeway” extending from Mexico to northern Argentina, giving these endangered predators the room they need to roam, hunt, mate — and ultimately survive. Zoologist Alan Rabinowitz, (whom we interviewed for “A Voice for the Animals”) is one of the project’s leaders.

In the multimedia piece above, Winter describes his trial-and-error approach to photographing the Western hemisphere’s top terrestrial predator. At first he used methods that kept him safely at a distance but soon discovered that getting good pictures required patience, sun exposure, and the courage to confront the jaguar face-to-face. His fortitude yielded a bounty of memorable images of Panthera onca in action. See the results for yourself.


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Message to Nancy Rosenbaum, In your title you capitalices "onca", The species name of all organsims should be in lower case and it is preferred in scientific writing that all should be in Italics. Please change this heading on the website. You have it correct in the body in the last paragraph.

Thank you.
John D. Laskowski, Biologist

Trent Gilliss's picture

Hi John. Thanks for the advice. All the titles of our blog posts use initial capitalization, which is the reason why we didn't put "onca" all in lower case. Because of the constraints of our content management system, we also can't italicize the phrase, but I've put single quotation marks around the phrase as a result. Many thanks!

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