Argentina is carrying out a program to reintroduce jaguars in a park in the northeast of the country, whose presence had not been recorded for 70 years. A mother and her two cubs were thus released, the NGO Rewilding Argentina reported on Saturday. The reintroduction of this female named Juruna and her two young born in captivity in December brings to six the number of jaguars released since the beginning of the year in the Ibera park. This is a protected area of nearly 200,000 hectares of marshes, rivers and lagoons, surrounded by meadows and mountains, on the border with Paraguay and close to Brazil.
Juruna joins his sister Mariua and her two little ones released in January. These two wild females from northern Brazil were taken in when poachers killed their mother a few months after birth. “It is the first time in history that an attempt has been made to bring this big feline back to an environment where man has exterminated it”, declared the NGO which has been carrying out this project for ten years.
Considered “near threatened” with extinction
Deforestation, the increase in agricultural land, forest fires as well as poaching had made them disappear from the province of Corrientes. The jaguar, whose largest population is concentrated in the Brazilian Pantanal, the largest tropical wetland on earth, is considered “near threatened” with extinction by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
In Argentina, some 200 to 300 specimens have been recorded, scattered in the jungles of the provinces of Salta, Misiones, Chaco and Formosa, in the north of the country. In Ibera, the jaguar joins other key reintroduced species such as the pampas deer, giant anteater, collared peccary and scarlet macaw. The Ibera Marshes are one of Argentina’s main emerging natural attractions and, before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, welcomed 45,000 visitors a year.