THE Traveler: Sue Kirchoff of Minneapolis.

The scene: A jaguar rests under a tree in the Pantanal, the world's largest tropical wetland, which spans from western Brazil, where this photo was taken, to Bolivia and Paraguay.

Trip details: To reach the Pantanal, a place Kirchoff had wanted to visit for years, she flew to Sao Paulo, then to Cuiaba, Brazil. From there, she traveled the Transpantaneira highway to the Araras Pantanal Eco Lodge, where she spent five days hiking, canoeing, horseback riding and taking day and night safaris in boats and off-road vehicles. "Along the way, we saw a stunning variety of wildlife, including caimans, hyacinth macaws, jabiru storks, toucans, capybaras, tapirs, more monkeys than we could count — and ultimately several jaguars," Kirchoff wrote in an e-mail.

About the shot: Kirchoff was in a small boat on the Cuiaba River, in the Pantanal, when she saw the jaguar on the riverbank. Her party had searched throughout the morning for a glimpse of one of these large cats. "I was so moved by the animal's beauty and thrilled to get this shot," she wrote. "I had never seen a jaguar in the wild before; it was one of my dreams when I planned my trip to Brazil. The largest cat native to the Americas, jaguars are listed as "near threatened" due to habitat loss and direct killing. She used a Nikon D600 camera with a 70-300mm Nikkor lens.

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