We discovered Cantão in 1996, during a project to search for representative spots for the creation of parks in the Brazilian Amazon. When we entered Cantão for the first time, not only its natural beauty impressed us, but also its imposing forests, placid lakes and exceptional  abundance of fauna, in particular fish, aquatic reptiles, hoatzins (Opisthocomus hoatzin), giant otters (Pteronura brasiliensis) and jaguar (Panthera onca). Considering the typical standards used for the Amazon, the abundance of fish, large mammals and birds in Cantão seemed to be much greater, comparable only to the most abundant areas in the Pantanal.

After visiting Cantão several times, we finally bought the only inholding in the park, whose owner did not concur with the new conservation rules. We have been working for the conservation of Cantão ever since. We work in conjunction with the Park authorities in order to prevent illegal fishing and poaching in the park.  Without the former fish poaching, the rivers and lakes in the area are teeming with fish, and we have been observing a gradual increase of the population of several endangered animals, such as pink dolphins and giant otters.

We believe that nature conservation can only be achieved if local stakeholders help implement conservation laws. Local driven initiatives combined with social pressure prove far more effective than centrally-planned law enforcements for conservation of parks. With this purpose in mind we have created the Instituto Araguaia.

Our accountability is clear and straight forward.  100% of our grants and donations go towards the protection of Cantão and to our Giant Otter Project. No overhead.  Institutional funds do not cover personnal expenses of our board.  We are commited to giving our time, our resources and our professional skills to the protection of

Cantão and to all it represents for our intricate planet.  

Besides ourselves, the staff  includes rangers and field assistants, a Biologist manager and local grantees conducting giant otter research.  Our Technical Scientific Advisory Board is comprised of prominent professionals with recognized expertize in their fields.

The Insituto´s project “Giant Otter Monitoring and Population Dinamics” has received technical advise from Dr. Nicole Duplaix, Chair of IUCN’s SSC/Otter Specialist Group, as well as from Dr. Rob Williams and Dr. Christof Schenck from the Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS). After 2013 the FZS also gives finnancial support to this project.

Other sponsors and partners include Fundação Grupo O Boticário, FUNBIO, Zoo Miami, Dortmund Zoo and private donors. 



About George and Silvana

“We are Ecologists, with more than 25 years of experience working in Brazil and abroad.

In the Brazilian Amazon we have participated in the design, creation and management of more than 12 parks and reserves , including Cantão State Park. 

We have both worked as Environmental Specialists at the World Bank and in the Program for Brasil of the American NGO The Nature Conservancy, in Washington, D.C.

In 2010, we founded the  non-profit, non-governmental  organization Instituto Araguaia de Proteção Ambiental.”

Members of IUCN World Commission of Protected Areas (WCPA)

Members of IUCN Species Survival Commission - Otter Specialist Group (SSC-OSG)


Instituto Araguaia is part of the Alliance for Zero Extinction - AZE


Instituto Araguaia is a member of

              Rede Nacional Pró Unidades de Conservação

Instituto Araguaia is a member of IntAct

International Action for Primary Forests

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