Big cat comeback: Jaguars prowl Argentina’s Iberá Wetlands after 70 years

Big cat comeback: Jaguars prowl Argentina’s Iberá Wetlands after 70 years
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Conservationists recently released three jaguars — a mother and two cubs — into Gran Iberá Park in northeastern Argentina’s Corrientes province in an attempt to rewild the local ecosystem. Jaguars haven’t been present in the Iberá Wetlands for the past 70 years, after hunting and habitat loss drove them to local extinction. The ultimate goal of the jaguar reintroduction program is to reestablish a healthy, genetically diverse population of jaguars in Gran Iberá Park, which has the capacity to hold about 100 jaguars, according to conservationists. It’s been 70 years since jaguars left their round, four-toed footprints in the ground of the Iberá Wetlands, a 1.3-million-hectare (3.2-million-acre) tract of swamps, waterways and islands in northeastern Argentina’s Corrientes province. But things are changing now. Two weeks ago, conservationists opened up a pen that held two 4-month-old jaguar cubs, Karai and Porã , and their mother, Mariua, giving them free and open access to Gran Iberá Park, a 709,717-hectare (1.75-million-acre) park established in 2018 by the NGO Tompkins Conservation. This release is part of a grand scheme to rewild the Iberá Wetlands by reinstating several species, including the jaguar ( Panthera onca ), which was driven to local extinction due to […]

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