By Brasil Eco tur on 15 de Setembro de 2022
Meet Matí: the jaguar used in the recordings of the soap opera Pantanal

It is impossible to remember the novel Pantanal, without remembering Juma Marruá, a character who turns into a jaguar! To record the scenes where both Juma and her mother, Maria Marruá, become the feline, the production of the soap opera needed a star to star in the role, and that star was Matí!

Where did this jaguar come from? What safety and animal welfare precautions were taken? Where did she stay? Was this authorized by environmental agencies?

The answer to these and other questions can be found in the text below:

The invitation to paper
To make a scene with a real jaguar, it would not be possible to film with wild animals, so the soap opera team went after some serious and respected institution that works with ex-situ jaguars (in captivity). The institution chosen was Instituto NEX, a non-profit association that maintains a Scientific Breeding for Conservation Purposes, which works in the creation and maintenance of wild animals for the conservation of endangered species. NEX has been working since 2001 with the conservation of wild animals that cannot be returned to nature.

The institute's team accepted the invitation with the aim of showing the world the importance of the jaguar for the environment, bringing visibility to the cause. According to Daniela Gianni, manager of NEX, the institute's struggle is to make people aware of the respect for life and freedom that jaguars deserve, as well as all other living beings. Also according to her, it is important to bring people closer to nature so that they feel closer to these animals, thus combating prejudice, repulsion, distress or even the lack of knowledge that many people feel in relation to wild animals.

Why Mati?
Matí, a 3.5-year-old female jaguar who was born and bred in captivity, was the jaguar NEX chose for this character. She was chosen for her calmer temperament and for being used to other humans. Matí was born in a conservationist breeding facility and at the age of 2 she went to Nex through a genetic exchange program between the Breeders.

Daniela Gianni, Coordinator of Activities and Projects at Instituto NEX, next to Matí during the break of recordings in the Pantanal.

The recordings in the Pantanal
Everything agreed between NEX and the soap opera, it's time to take the feline star to the recording set, in the middle of the Pantanal! But first, 2 essential points needed to be thought out very carefully: The well-being and safety of the jaguar and the security for the team

Matí's well-being: To ensure comfort and tranquility throughout the 6 days of recording, some actions were taken during transport and recording of the scenes, such as:

Air conditioning and fresh water always available;
Much silence;
Few professionals scheduled for the recordings;
Constant monitoring of the area to avoid the approach of any other animal;
Constant intervals in the recordings for the animal to rest;
Professional team always following the work closely;
2 veterinarians and 1 biologist on the team;
Extremely respectful and professional staff.
Team safety: To ensure that nothing got out of hand, many measures were taken for the safety of the team and Matí itself, such as:

2 steel cables of 3 meters each connected to Matí's collar.
2 handlers/handlers during the scenes, each holding the end of each cable, so she couldn't access them or people, but at the same time didn't squeeze or pull.
2 vets with blowguns and anesthetic guns to sedate her in case of escape.
1 doctor with all necessary first-aid equipment
6 security guards patrolling the perimeter of where she was recording, not to allow any other animals to approach
All within the legality
All this action was carried out in partnership with the competent environmental agencies, with all the necessary environmental licenses. IBAMA, CENAP, IMASUL and SEMAD-GO authorized this filming, from transport to accommodation in the Pantanal.

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