By Richard Mann
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - The Pantanal, the world's largest tropical wetland area, is now home to more than ten million caimans (Caiman crocodilus yacare). In the 1980s, this species became the preferred target of the skin leather trade, which killed at least 5 million specimens.
It was its gentleness that put the caiman in the sights of Paraguayan leather workers, who invaded the Brazilian Pantanal in search of animals to meet the demand for their skins in the 1980s.
In addition to the Paraguayans, Brazilians and Bolivians were also involved in the ten-year confrontation with . . .