70 years after the jaguar was driven to local extinction due to hunting and habitat loss, a rewilding project has seen the species return to the Iberá wetlands in Argentina. Mariua, an adult jaguar who was rescued as an orphan cub in Brazil, and her two captive-born cubs were released into Gran Iberá Park in January, the first of nine jaguars slated to repopulate the species in the 687 000 hectare protected area. Currently, only about 200 jaguars remain in Argentina, which this rewilding project is hoping to increase. 

What is Happening?

Doreen Robinson, Chief of Wildlife at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), says, “Carefully re-introducing predators such as jaguars can help restore ecosystems. Without these species, biodiversity suffers and the services that nature provides can break down – from disease mitigation and soil protection to water system regulation.”

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Kristine Tompkins, president of Tompkins Conservation and a UNEP Patron of Protected Areas, says, “We congratulate the government of Argentina, Argentina’s National Parks and the Province of Corrientes for their commitment to rewilding jaguars, an 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.”

Featured image by: Flickr