South America's big five

Since the 19th Big game hunters on African safaris referred to the fiercest game mammals as the the “Big Five”. Modern photo-safari tourists have continued, the desire to shoot the big five albeit with their camaras. An important criterion for being included in the "big five, "besides being large, is that there is a reasonable chance of actually seeing them. Listing an animal that is hardly ever seen makes no sense. The nature of the tropical jungle makes it very difficult to see certain mammals that do occur, like Jaguars, Pumas or Woolly Tapirs. So, a realistic selection for the South America big five is: Amazon Dolphins (3 species), Giant Otter, Guanaco,  Manatee (2 species), Tapir (2 species).

This selection, just like in Africa, is an across the board representation of the largest mammals that include both carnivores and herbivores, albeit that the South America Big Five includes aquatic species, reflecting the character of the continent.  Regional variation by replacing one of the species with the Maned Wolf, which is commonly seen in Brazil.




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Parks Man Dr. Daan Vreugdenhil is author of this website. He dedicated his life to the conservation of nature., He was part of the team that selected the first 39 protected areas of Ecuador in the 1970s and he initiated the Cuyabeno Lodge in Ecuador's Amazon in 1985, making him one of the world's eco tourism pioneers. A speaker of 8 languages and having traveled to 80+ countries, Dr. Daan Vreugdenhil has is one of the world's greatest connoisseurs of nature and national parks in the world. 

This website and its programs have been created by the renowned conservation biologist "Parks Man" Dr. Daan Vreugdenhil