Jaguar Research Center

Jaguar Research Center (Brazilian Pantanal) – alias SouthWild Jaguar Camp (from 2011)

In 2004 the 270,000-acre MEETING-OF-THE-WATERS STATE PARK was founded (Parque Estadual do Encontro das Aguas), unfortunately according to official documents it’s management pIan should have been ready in 2008 but today in 2011 it’s still missing.

In the same year, after the parks creation, Munn bought a 4.000 ha area in the Porto Jofre area, deep inside the park, where in 2006 he started to operate as ‘Jaguar Research Center’, without any license.

From their website:

“The Jaguar Research Center is in the very heart of the Meeting of the Waters State Park. It is composed of five 12-by-14-foot, walk-in tents made of thick canvas. The roof of the tents reach more than 8 feet high, allowing even the tallest guests to walk around most of the tent. Each tent also features electric light, an electrical socket for charging cameras and other equipment (both 110 volt and 220 volts available), and a bathroom.
A small, well-equipped house boat is anchored in the Three Brothers River at the Jaguar Research Center and acts as kitchen, dining room, lounge, and electric generator to power the tents, which lie 100 yards away from the riverbank, in open forest on the edge of a large, African-like savannah. The boat has air conditioning in two private cabins, each with private bathrooms. The Jaguar Research Center is the only lodging in the core of this enormous jaguar preserve.”

Quoting Charles A.Munn:

Before we opened officially in July of last year, we offered some experimental jaguar tours in the area and never missed a jag in any three night itinerary. Now, though, we have upped our average jag sightings to 1.5 per day, and we expect to get close to 1.9 or 2.0 jags per day in the 2008 dry season as our techniques of tracking and finding jaguars continue to improve.”
Accommodations out here in the jaguar wilderness consist of eight rather spacious walk-in tents, all of them sealed, all
with wooden floors, private, hot-shower bathrooms, and electricity for lights, fans, and recharging cameras and laptops.
Believe it or not, there is even wireless Internet service available. There is also a twin-deck houseboat with two air-conditioned cabins and an equal number of hot-shower bathrooms.”

It is a luxurious tented camp, quiet expensive and targets upmarket international wildlife tourism. Charles A. Munn promotes his camp as the only ‘guaranteed’ jaguar-sighting spot in the world. An audacious promise, as jaguars are most elusive creatures. How does he achieve this? According to local’s talk and SEMA’s report he has numerous patrolling boats that navigate incessantly along the rivers of the park, equipped with radios that signal the presence of jaguar’s to the base camp. When a jaguar is sighted they put the tourists on a boat and take them to the spot. He was accused (it was never proofed) of baiting jaguars also. This caused a lot of stir around the jaguar-business and is attracting more and more people to the area, who want’s to make business and tourists. It seems it’s getting more and more difficult to spot these wild animals, probably disturbed by so much human presence.

When interrogated during the Parliamentary Investigative Commission on Biopiratery in 2002 about the profits of his eco-lodges C.A. Munn says they are simple, not very profitable enterprises (see Appendix CPI Biopirataria, “CPI_dep_MunnTrafico_nt171202”), this is beyond any doubt not the case of JRC.

He is also owner of Fazenda Santa Teresa (Pantanal Wildlfe Center) on the Rio Pixaim, Transpantaneira.

In august 2007 Munn, as owner of JRC, was solicited to present the request for a license for his touristic enterprise to the Brazilian government, but in august 2009 it was still missing.

In 2008 after a delation he was accused of practicing illegal feeding of jaguars to attract them and in February 2009 SEMA after in loco verification emitted a verdict and intimated the suspension of all touristic activities by JRC, putting an embargo on the camp. The embargo was not respected.

In november 2009 JRC was dismantled by SEMA and all the equipment requisited.

C.A.Munn is “missing” and hasn’t appeard to any convocation by SEMA or Federal Police.

He was last seen on Travel Forums and Twitter on august 2009, (camunn3, ararajuba, cmunn, charlesmunn are some of the names he uses); he still answers from cmunn@tropicalnature.org to tourists and proposes JRC as if nothing had happened.

Note: from a flyer of reefandrainforest.co.uk, Pantanal Jaguar Safari:

Local state law prohibits the erection of new buildings in the park which is why the camp consists of a boat and safari tents. This also allows the camp to move each season in response to changes in the patterns of jaguar activity, ensuring that it is always in the best location for jaguar sightings.”
In 2010 he reappeard on travel forums, social networks, etc. promoting JRC, where he continued receiving tourists, this time with a houseboat as lodging facility.

In some forums (to the end of 2010) we found mention of uncorrect behaviour towards tourists, he had failed to tell them they would be lodged on a boat and that no base camp existed anymore .

In 2011 Munn’s Brazilian business changed name to ‘SouthWild Jaguar Camp’. Former Jaguar Research Center camp is scheduled to reopen (it seems on the same site) on July 1th.

Cronology of events related to JRC:

2004

2006

  • Jaguar Research Center starts operating (without license)

2007

  • 17 August 2007, inspection at Jaguar Research Camp by a supervisor of SEMA in consequence of a delation

2008

  • 11 June 2008, ten months after the inspection and two months after the embargo Charles Munn writes to SEMA asking to be granted a license to operate JRC

2009

  • 16 April 2009, JRC is embargoed by SEMA for operating with tourists without a license (from the documents it’s not clear if the camp was embargoed in 2008 or 2009)
  • On 2 July 2009 after having received the technical report about the inspection at JRC, the competent governmental organ establishes a penalty of 120.000 Brazilian Reais to Charles Munn for having disattended the law.
  • On 22 July 2009 the supervisor of the Reserve determines that Charles Munn is still working with tourists at the embargoed camp
  • On 28 July 2009 the supervisor of the Reserve establishes a new penalty of 250.000 Brazilian reais for not having respected the embargo
  • Through a juridical procedure a new inspection is determined and if established that the embargo is still not respected a daily penalty of 100.000 Brazilian Reais is asked for every day of illegal work.
  • On 10 September the supervisor ascertains that Charles Munn’s enterprise is not respecting the embargo
  • On 14 September the daily fine of 100.000 Brazilian reais per day is applied
  • On 22 October last action is taken by responsible governmental agencies: a new inspection determines that the camp is still operating and a penalty of 1.000.000 Brazilian reais is applied, together with the request of dismatling the camp.
  • In the first days of November JRC is dismantled by SEMA and all material of the camp is confiscated.

2010

  • Charles A. Munn answers affirmatively to tourists inquiries about JRC disponibility for this year by e-mail cmunn@tropicalnature.org
  • JRC is still operating with tourists in the State Park area from a house boat as lodging solution instead of the dismantled tented camp

2011

  • Jaguar Research Center is scheduled to reopen on July 1th, under the name ‘SouthWild Jaguar Camp’ (http://www.southwild.com/), the camp being situated on the opposite riverbank which is not part of Mato Grosso state but of neighbouring state Mato Grosso do Sul, which is not under SEMA’s jurisdiction.

* all information until 2009 regarding Jaguar Research Center are extracted from OFFICIAL documents, you can check out on top menu.

From CBShttp://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7300063n#comments

by CharlesSouthWild January 31, 2011 2:37 PM EST “Congratulations to Panthera Foundation on its excellent conservation and research work on Jaguars in the north Pantanal of Brazil. As biologists who founded the SouthWild Jaguar Camp, (www.southwild.com), we are the immediate neighbors of PF’s new ranch. With our unique, Jaguar scout boat system (in place since 2005), we show guests an average of 1.5 Jaguars per day and already have logged more than 1,200 daytime Jaguar sightings. Our camp, formerly known as “Jaguar Research Center”, is the only operation in the world to offer travelers guaranteed views of wild Jaguars. We applaud the Panthera Foundation for their pioneering work to develop new methods to guarantee a sustainable future for Jaguars in the Pantanal.”

As if nothing has happened….

Appendix 8

2009, Process against Charles A. Munn documents

Appendix 9 (Jaguar Research Center)

Pantanal Jaguar Safari 2009-2010

Aug 09_CA Munn on Fodor’s Travel Talk Forums

Charles A. Munn III (charlesmunn) on Twitter

Appendix 10 (CPI Biopirataria)

CPI_depoimento_MunnTrafico_nt171202

Relatorio_Final_CPI_Biopirataria

Pedro Lima 071205

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