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Fires in Brazil

05/10/2020 in Conservation

Dried pond and fire | Observatorio do Pantanal

"The Amazon forest is burning, the Cerrado grasslands and shrub forests are burning, the Pantanal wetlands – now going through the worst drought in 50 years – are burning." 


The latest update we had from RZSS Conservation Associate Dr Arnaud Desbiez was a bleak one.  

Our charity has been working with Arnaud and his team in Brazil for over a decade to safeguard endangered giant armadillos and giant anteaters and their threatened habitat. This is the team that have discovered nearly everything that is currently known about these elusive species, and with each discovery we are better equipped to protect them from extinction.  

Tragically, and after an already difficult year with disruptions and delays to field programmes, the fires raging across Brazil now are catastrophic. The Pantanal, the largest wetland in the world, has gone up in smoke. Nearly 20% of that vital system has been destroyed.  

Arnaud reports that "Giant anteaters and armadillos are being seriously affected. Giant anteaters with long shaggy tails that brush the ground are being burnt alive. There is fewer record of armadillos as they are probably dying from the heat and smoke inhalation in their burrows. Rescue teams have been finding lots and lots of burned animals and have been trying to provide technical support to catch, anesthetize, and treat them. These teams need veterinary equipment and supplies, they are doing the best they can possibly do with almost nothing on their hands. 

Giant anteater being treated | CEMPAS - UFMT

The team have now joined forces with the Lowland Tapir Conservation Initiative to raise money for veterinary supplies and firefighting equipment and RZSS Patrons will hear directly from Arnaud in next month’s RZSS Wild Experts virtual talk series.  

If you'd like to join this virtual talk, email or visit  

Our patrons go behind the scenes with RZSS, and their special support makes a world of difference to wildlife across the globe. 


We would like to thank the players of People’s Postcode Lottery for their generous support which has helped this project.

 RZSS WildGenes is supported by the Players of Peoples Postcode Lottery

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