By José Valério Gentil Escrig
During the Great Southern Bioblitz 2022, held at the end of October, there was an unexpected and incredible find at the Fontes do Ipiranga State Park, in the city of São Paulo, in southeastern Brazil. I found a broad-snout caiman (Caiman latirostris), a species that, according to some park employees, has always lived there, although rarely seen even by those who work in the park. Currently it is known that there are two individuals, and a third is suspected, although there is no further evidence of its occurrence there.
Record of broad-snout caiman (Caiman latirostris) made during the GSB 2022, in the city of São Paulo, SP, Brazil. Photo by José Valério Gentil Escrig (iNaturalist id: josev_ge).
This happened on the third day of the #GSB2022 event, when I visited the Botanical Garden of São Paulo with my brother. We always try to photograph in the lakes region, because it has a rich biodiversity, with nests of several species of herons. As we approached the largest of the lakes, my brother said he had seen an alligator, but, as I had never heard of its occurrence there, I believed it was a joke. Soon I spotted something like a log, which quickly moved and it was possible to see the animal. The alligator was feeding on a Great Egret (Ardea alba), and and all the time did not seem to mind our presence.
Record of broad-snout caiman (Caiman latirostris) preying on a Great Egret (Ardea alba) taken during the GS B2022, in the city of São Paulo, SP, Brazil. Photo by José Valério Gentil Escrig (iNaturalist id: josev_ge).
This is one of the very few records of broad-snout caiman in the city of São Paulo on the iNaturalist platform, which is very important for obtaining more data on the occurrence and conservation of this species. Through this record I was able to alert the park team about the presence of this species, which makes it possible to increase the protection of this animal, which may be one of the last individuals of the species in that region.