Remember the Rainforest 1
which Dr. Spix had completed with some parrots from his hunt, and our fellow travelers had fallen asleep in their hammocks when the sentry scared us with a rifle fire. At the same moment, the animals all came together towards the shelter,
chased by a spotted jaguar (1) (Felis onca, L.), who, however, stopped before the fire and then slowly retreated. The sentry guide said he had shot another, and it is very likely, because these beasts often walk in pairs with their predatory mates. After such an adventure, there was no more rest in the camp, and the rising dawn already found us marching to Riachao, a distant farm six leagues, where we took a day to hunt the beautiful waterfowl that inhabit the neighboring lagoons. Between Riachao and Arroio Contendas, the aforementioned orogeny of shale margins appears here and embraces above the lime, with waters containing more or less salt.
Contendas was the place we had long chosen to settle in order to collect the products of the sertao, especially those of the animal kingdom, and we willingly gave in to the priest's insistent invitation to stay at his home.
Father Antonio Nogueira Duarte was so sympathetic to us with his enthusiasm for natural history that we had no need to make any recommendation to him to actively lend himself to everything for our company. A product of a varied culture, with a spirit that has matured for many years in Europe, this distinguished priest had become for us as instructive as he was animated by the joyful genius and serenity of his soul.
In this company, we forgot the solitude of the sertao (outback) and lightened the fatigue of the hunt, with a meal which our host zealously prepared for us. The outskirts of Contendas and all the similar area between the western tributaries of Rio Verde Grande and Rio Sao Francisco are designated by the name of Campos Gerais de Sao Filipe, and the inhabitants, on the contrary, call the valley Geral de Gerais. Rio Sao Francisco and Beira Rio, as well as the adjacent high mineral lands, are usually covered with pastures. In this territory of hills, whose orogenic formation is the aforementioned limestone, three different genera of hunting are offered: the groves of the catingas (semi-arid land), the pastures with isolated anas trees and the grasslands. In the groves, we sought, with the help of some professional hunters and their well-trained dogs, big game: caititu, deer, jaguar and tapir. It is very pleasant to hunt this last one, because it is not dangerous.
Pecari or caititu
Deer, Cervus campestris
1) Jaguarete or Cangucu. (Rev. Note, Inst. Hist. And Geogr. Bras.).