Jaguars reintroduced to Argentina’s wetlands, 70 years after local extinction

What’s the story?

A jaguar mother and her two cubs have been returned to Argentina’s Iberá wetlands, as part of a rewilding programme to reintroduce the species to areas where it had been driven to local extinction. The largest predator in South America – the jaguar – was last observed in the Iberá wetlands 70 years ago.

The mother, named Mariua by researchers, was rescued as an orphan cub in Brazill, where she was born wild. She bred her two cubs, Karai and Porã, in captivity. Together with her cubs, Mariua will be the first of nine jaguars that will be released to repopulate the 700,000 hectare wetlands, which offer an abundance of prey for the cats.

Why is this positive news for the planet?

Jaguars are a “keystone species”. That means their presence is vital for the continuation of the local ecosystem, because they control levels of prey that would otherwise overgraze the habitats, which in turn would reduce the biodiversity of the area.

The jaguar population of this local area was reduced at the hands of humans – through hunting and deforestation – so it is right that humans take on the responsibility to restore the balance.

The jaguar is also a symbol of strength for the Guarani people of northeastern Argentina, and an essential element of the region’s identity.

Kristine Tompkins, president of Tompkins Conservation and Patron of Protected Areas for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), said:

“We congratulate the government of Argentina, Argentina’s National Parks and the Province of Corrientes for their commitment to rewilding this iconic species. As we start the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030, it’s time to recognise the central role that rewilding can play in restoring climate stability and planetary health.”


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Charli Ferrand

Charli wrote her first novel at the tender age of 9, then dabbled in the idea of becoming a professional ballerina for a few years, before returning to her love of writing, acquiring a BA (Hons) in Journalism, Film & Broadcast from Cardiff University in the UK. A three-month holiday in Australia turned into a 11 year residency, during which Charli cemented her career in PR & Marketing Communications working with some of the biggest brands in the world. She also gained her citizenship, discovered her passion for sustainability and eventually ended up coming full circle, combining her professional skills with her love of the planet and oceans into her role as Editor-in-Chief of Earth Collective. A trained journalist, experienced communications professional and qualified Mental Health First Aider, Charli has her finger on the pulse of the latest political and environmental developments around the world. You can find her writing about current affairs, political activism and mental health.

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