The Cantão ecosystem in the southeast of the Amazon region belongs to the inland delta of the Araguaia and Javaés rivers and is an ecotone where the Pantanal, the Amazon and the Cerrado biomes come together. It consists primarily of floodplain forest which is underwater for half of the year.

Countless oxbow lakes provide a refuge for water birds and turtles and offer ideal conditions for an enormous variety of freshwater fish. Such richness of fish has turned Cantão into one of the best habitats for large aquatic wildlife such as the pink dolphin, the giant otter, and the black caiman.

But also, terrestrial wildlife is abundant, for example with species such as the jaguar. About 90% of the Cantão ecosystem is protected in the Cantão State Park which forms part of a mosaic of different conservation areas covering more than two million hectares. These areas act as a bulwark against intensive agriculture spreading from the south and the east. FZS is supporting the local non-Government organization Instituto Araguaia in its efforts to protect the Cantão Ecosystem.

Quick Facts
  • Project: Protection and management of the Cantão Ecosystem
  • Project area: Cantão Ecosystem
  • Area size: 1,000 km²
  • Project start: 2012
  • Project leader: Dr. Silvana Campello

How we support the Cantão ecosystem

Biological monitoring

  • Continue year-round monitoring of giant otters within the long-term research area, where there have been unbroken population records since 2010
  • Carry out annual drone census of river dolphins
  • Monitoring of transects of Cerrado mammals in private conservation areas of the adjacent Cerrado using camera traps

Control and surveillance

  • Maintain year-round presence at the Instituto Araguaia field station, controlling access to the core of the Cantão State Park
  • Perform regular rounds of 20 lakes around the field station, the private reserves, and the surrounding area to detect poaching
  • Support park management and rangers in any way possible to improve the protection of the Cantão State Park and surrounding Cerrado

Prevention and fighting of fires

  • Monitoring of fires using civilian drone and satellite imagery and being early responders to fires in private reserves
  • Support firefighters in the Cantão State Park and surrounding Cerrado

Public outreach

  • Organize the annual Cantão Canoe and Ecology Festival with canoe races, cultural activities, and visits to the conservation areas
  • Hold presentations about Cantão and the Cerrado at schools, fishing associations, and community groups at the towns surrounding the Cantão ecosystem
  • Host and guide scientists, students, conservationists, officials from government and financing agencies, and other special visitors

Our partner

Successful conservation is always the result of great teamwork. Our partner makes our conservation work possible.

  • Instituto Araguaia

“The best way to protect biodiversity in Brazil and around the world is through the establishment of protected areas.”

Dr. Silvana Campello, Director Instituto Araguaia


Zoologische Gesellschaft Frankfurt von 1858 e.V.
Bernhard-Grzimek-Allee 1
60316 Frankfurt

Telephone: +49 (0)69 - 94 34 46 0
Fax: +49 (0)69 - 43 93 48

You will find our office in the Zoogesellschaftshaus (1st floor).