In the early 1990’s, jaguar hunters in Brazil’s Pantanal wetlands presented Douglas Trent with a jaguar canine. They told Douglas that he had proven himself as a true friend of the Pantaneiro community, and by accepting the canine gift would become a Pantaneiro and a member of their family. Douglas delightfully accepted and proposed an offer of his own, telling the hunters: “If you stop killing jaguars, I will help your community work with nature tourism and help build a lodge to attract tourists.” Given the long-held trust between them the deal was sealed.
Having created the first professional nature tour company in Brazil, Focus Tours, Douglas had the experience to hold up his end of the deal. He connected with Joanne Devlin, who owned a paving company in the USA. Joanne agreed to fund the permanent preservation of 1,000 hectares in the Pantanal, creating the Jaguar Ecological Reserve. As Douglas promoted tours for the region, operator clients in the US agreed to prepay their tours early. This finance provided Douglas the means to fund the construction of the ecolodge, located at kilometer 128 on the Transpantaneira highway. As the lodge was under construction, Douglas began leading nature tours through the region with the strong support of many clients. These were the early stages in what became a booming ecotourism site, that drew together exceptional natural beauty, the local community, nature tourists, and environmentally concerned investors. To grow the program, Douglas and Joanne established a 501 (c)(3) NGO in the USA and created the Focus Conservation Fund. Read more about the Jaguar Ecological Reserve program elsewhere in this site.
Douglas B. Trent
Belo Horizonte, MG Brazil
FCF President and co-founder is an American ecologist (Kansas University 1979).
He started Focus Tours as Brazil’s first nature tour company in 1981 to use as a tool to raise funds to get people out of poverty and preserve nature, his long held life goals.
While guiding nature and birding tours in Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Bolivia he learned the birds and mammals of these regions, and worked in various ways to help the local people in these areas. It was his friendship with Lerinho Falcão that created the trust that let to the creation of the FCF.
Today Douglas is a member of the IUCN Species Conservation Commission, Otter Specialist Group, the Research Director of the Pantanal Wildlife Program, and President of Focus Tours.