Charles A. Munn III

One of the world’s leading conservation biologists

jaguars, pantanal, tours, brazil, photography, wildlife

“Qualified up to the eyeballs…”

Dr. Charles A. Munn
Photography: Arcana Mundi Expeditions. Jaguars of Brazil’s Pantanal.


“Your first port of call for sightings of jaguars, pumas and wolves.”


“For sightings of jaguars, pumas and wolves, the co-founder of SouthWild should be your first port of call. In fact, so confident is Munn that he offcrs a 100-per-cent guarantee guests will see wildlife at close range on specific trips at certain times of the year (there’s even a $1.000 refund if you don’t). Along with his business partner Mariana Valqui, a Peruvian-German conservation biologist, he leads the way in South American eco-tourism and wildlife spotting. Qualified up to the eyeballs, with a PhD in Evolution and Ecology from Princeton, Munn can reel off a constant supply of riveting facts and figures, as well as the names of hundreds of species. Camps range from a ‘flotcl’ in the Pantanal to airy lodges with hammocks where you can kick back after a day watching big cats. Journeys include four-by-four rides, boat trips and treks – whatever it takes to get the best view of that puma. Munn also lives and breathes birds – he can identify each one just by listening to its song. And it’s contagious.Who knew hyacinth macaws could be so engaging!”

–Animal Experts, Condé Nast Traveller, March 2013



1977 – Bachelor’s Degree, Summa Cum Laude, Princeton University. Winner of Biology Prize.

1979 – M.Sc., Oxford. Thesis topic: Population density of mixed-species bird flocks of the Amazon rainforest, Manú National Park, Perú.

1984 – Ph.D., Princeton. Thesis topic: Behavioral ecology of mixed-species bird flocks of the Amazon rainforest, Manú National Park, Perú.


Field Experience

1980 to Present – Tested and perfected models of “Conservation through Ecotourism.

1984 to 2000 – New York Zoological Society: Senior Field Scientist in the Amazon and the Pantanal, researching macaws and Giant Otters.

1985 – In the Peruvian Amazon, discovered a bird species new toscience – the Manú Parrotlet.

1987 – Director, Brazilian government’s field survey of the Hyacinth Macaw, which led to a global trade ban by the 140 signatory countries of CITES, an international agreement between governments. Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. The ban wiped out the trafficking in the species, which is the world’s largest and most spectacular parrot, and the birds have recovered well in the Pantanal.


Conservation Projects

Munn’s wildlife research convinced him that ecotourism is the most efficient way to protect wildlands.

1980 to 2000 – Created 15 million acres (6 million hectares) of new parks and reserves in the Amazon (an area equal to 25% of the UK).

1984 to 2000 – Land-titled 2 million acres to 10,000 indigenous Amerindians who ring and protect the new parks.

1984 to 2014 – Built 30 lodges in the Amazon and Pantanal, the world’s largest rainforest-lodge network.Three lodges are Amerindian-owned and are market leaders. They are the Amazon’s only successful indigenous-owned lodges (the Indians then protect neighboring parks).


Publications & Media Coverage

1986 – Birds That Cry ‘Wolf!’, Charles A. Munn, Nature 319, 143 - 145 (09 January 1986). A letter to the international science journal about flycatching birds in Amazonia that use predator alarm calls deceptively to distract other birds, thereby increasing their own chances of capturing insects.

1993 to 2014 – Work featured worldwide in Emmy-Award-winning TV documentaries (such as Spirits of the Rainforest).

1994 – Time chose Munn as one of the planet’s 100 young leaders (along with Bill Gates and Condoleezza Rice).

1994 – Macaws: Winged Rainbows, Charles A. Munn, National Geographic, January 1994, cover story.

2000 – Madidi, Bolivia’s Amazing New National Park, Charles A. Munn, National Geographic, March 2000, cover story.

2004 – Condé Nast Traveller chose a Munn lodge as the top wildlife destination in the Amazon.

Other reports have appeared in the Daily Telegraph, Financial Times, Time, Newsweek, The New York Times, BBC News, Condé Nast Traveller and other publications.


Conclusions about Ecotourism

We must show big animals in order to convince travelers to visit the Amazon and Pantanal.

The animals of the Amazon are as beautiful as African ones, but harder to see. So we have to “part the green curtain” to increase visibility.

Local biologists and poachers-turned-conservers have taught us how to find and showcase endangered species in Latin America (such as Giant Otters, Jaguars, Hyacinth Macaws, Pink Dolphins, Maned Wolves, Pumas, Brazilian Tapirs, Baird’s Tapirs and Harpy Eagles). We, thus, know how to “part the green curtain.”


Our “Green Dream”

Our ecotourism-fueled conservation crusade is accelerating thanks to our 2004 discovery of the world’s only reliable spot for Jaguars, the most elusive large mammal of the Americas (many Jaguar researchers get only rare glimpses).

Our next phase:

Major expansion of the conservation ecotourism system, with the goal to protect half of the Pantanal (which is size of the UK).

Expansion all over the Amazon, which still is only 22% deforested.

54% of the standing forest in Amazon is in parks, but parks require lodges to protect key entry points.

80 jetports with commercial flights exist today in the Amazon, allowing international access to those future lodges.

Our goal is to build 100 lodges all around the Amazon, each protecting a vulnerable entry point to a two-million to five-million acre park.

Learn more about our “Green Dream”:


SouthWild’s Green Dream: Why We Showcase Jaguars

by Dr. Charles A. Munn



“Dreaming of that next epic wildlife adventure? Here are your go-to guys.”

–Condé Nast Traveller




jaguars, pantanal, tours, brazil, photography, wildlife

Arcana Mundi Expeditions

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