Did you know?
- Jaguars are the largest wild cat in North and South America
- Jaguars have been eradicated from 40% of their global range across the Americas due to habitat loss / fragmentation, loss of natural prey, hunting and human-wildlife conflict
- In Argentina, jaguars have lost over 95% of their natural territory
- Sobering estimates of the endangered population in Argentina number between 200 and 300
- Rewilding Argentina’s Jaguar Reintroduction Project is a world first
Jaguar Reintroduction Project
As top predators, jaguar (Panthera onca) are key to the restoration of the ecological balance in the Iberá Wetlands and their return has been a ten-year journey of provincial, national and global collaborations. Jaguars were donated by institutions in Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil to create a breeding and founding population for the Jaguar Reintroduction Centre.
This foundational phase included an extensive social survey that endorsed the support of both provincial authorities and the local population for the project; the confirmation that the expanded habitat of the Gran Iberá Park could sustainably support around 100 jaguars, and taking advice from global experts on all matters related to this world-first initiative.
Les Carlisle, &Beyond Group Conservation Manager, was invited to share his expertise around &Beyond’s proven large scale, veterinary-supported wildlife translocation model, together with his many years of learnings on predator release and post-release management protocols. He captured the highlights of this experience in his story Conservation revolution.
In 2012, construction started on the mammoth Jaguar Reintroduction Centre – a three-year building project that encompassed 30 hectares (74 acres) of holding pens to breed, raise and rehabilitate jaguars that are able to live independently in the wild.
In 2015, the first breeding female arrived at the centre, followed by a succession of two males and two females from rescue centres and zoos in Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil.
2018 marked a highlight in the programme, when Arami and Mbarete were born: the project’s first newborns and the first jaguars born in over seven decades in Corrientes.
The cubs are the offspring of two jaguars on loan from partnering institutions: Chiqui, the father, who was born in the wild, but orphaned at a young age, and Tania, the mother, who came to the centre after being born and raised in a zoo. Tania is missing a leg from an incident when she was a cub, but remarkably has learnt to hunt for herself.
Arami and Mbarete were raised in 1.5 hectare pens without any human contact. Their growth and development was monitored remotely, and their hunting skills honed on wild prey captured by locals.