Since the 19th
Big game hunters on African safaris referred to the fiercest game mammals as the
the “Big Five”. Modern photo-safari tourists have continued, the desire to shoot
the big five albeit with their camaras. An important criterion for being
included in the "big five, "besides being large, is that there is a reasonable
chance of actually seeing them. Listing an animal that is hardly ever seen makes
no sense. The nature of the tropical jungle makes it very difficult to see
certain mammals that do occur, like Jaguars, Pumas or Woolly Tapirs. So, a
realistic selection for the South America big five is: Amazon Dolphins (3
species), Giant Otter, Guanaco, Manatee (2 species), Tapir (2 species).
just like in Africa, is an across the board representation of the largest
mammals that include both carnivores and herbivores, albeit that the South
America Big Five includes aquatic species, reflecting the character of the
continent. Regional variation by replacing one of the species with the
Maned Wolf, which is commonly seen in Brazil.