Ousado the jaguar could hardly walk. Fires had blown through his territory in the Pantanal region of Brazil, scorching the very ground the animal was running upon as he tried to escape. When a team of volunteer veterinarians eventually captured him in Encontro das Águas State Park, all four of his paws had turned beet red with third-degree burns. This year, the Pantanal, the world’s largest wetland region, spanning across Brazil, Paraguay and Bolivia, has experienced catastrophic fires, believed to have been started by human activities such as agricultural land clearing. However, widespread drought exacerbated the fires, turning the tightly packed peat soil into ready fuel. It’s estimated that 4.1 million hectares (10.1 million acres) of the Pantanal burnt this year, according to data compiled by the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro’s Laboratory for Environmental Satellite Applications (LASA by its Portuguese acronym), which encompasses about 28% of the entire region. The fires have taken a tremendous toll on wildlife, including jaguars, a near threatened species with a population of about 2,000 individuals in the Pantanal’s jaguar corridor. In September, Panthera, a global wild cat conservation organization, estimated that 600 jaguars had had their habitat impacted by the fires, with many animals either injured or killed. Ousado being rescued in the Pantanal. Image by Jose Medeiros / Panthera. But some jaguars, including 3-year-old Ousado, were rescued. After being picked up on Sept. 11, Ousado was first taken to the veterinary hospital of the Federal University of Mato Grosso for preliminary…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer