Leandro Soares kisses his wife goodbye before heading out to herd cows from a remote pasture. Leandro, who grew up on a farm and is now in his early 20s, may be the last generation of Pantanal cowboys. June 20., 2014.
rode their horses across the wetlands of Pantanal in Brazil for 200 years, ever since the "elimination" of the Iast significant Indian tribes from the area. An entire culture, economic system, art forms and lifestyle developed around the work of cowboys on the Pantanal cattle ranches. The work in the largest wetlands of the world is hard and dangerous, the marshes are full of snakes, deadly spiders, alligators and jaguars. The cows are semi wild and sometimes unpredictable, especially when defending their calves.
This generation of cowboys may well be the last one to roam the endless wetlands of what once was an inland sea.
It has become increasingly difficult for ranch owners to find qualified cowboys to work and live on the ranches for months at a time. Many families have moved away from the farms and into nearby cities. The natural passage of the cowboy skills from one rural generation to another has been severely strained if not broken. Soon, the Pantanal cowboys will take their last ride into the sunset.
Photo by Marcin Szczepanski