First Jaguars Born in Forest Where They Went Extinct 70 Years Ago

Seventy years after being extinct in the area, jaguars have given birth in a marsh in Argentina.

After a successful rewilding campaign, the jaguars were born in Ibera Park in humid, lush northern Argentina.

Conservationists were ecstatic when motion-activated video footage from a wildlife camera showed one of the parents crossing a trail while holding a youngster in its mouth.

The species, which was considered "near-threatened" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, disappeared from the region seven decades ago.

The recent jaguar newborns signal the return of the region's top predator, and Ibera Park is one of South America's most important wetlands.

Tompkins Conservation and Fundación Rewilding Argentina issued a joint statement on Thursday, which Zenger News was able to obtain: "Camera trap film indicates the birth of the first jaguars (Panthera onca) in the wild for Rewilding Argentina in the 1.8 million-acre Ibera Park.

Jatobazinho, a Brazilian wild jaguar who had undergone rehabilitation, and Arami, the first jaguar cub born in 2018, were both reintroduced into the wild last year.

Sebastian Di Martino, the director of Rewilding Argentina, said: "By reintroducing extinct species, the rewilding initiative strives to regain the biological functionality of the wetlands.

"The jaguar has a crucial function to perform as the apex predator."

"Jaguars in Argentina have lost nearly 95% of their native range," the statement stated.

"Eight jaguars were successfully released into Ibera Park as part of the jaguar initiative, which began in 2012."

The Ibera wetlands, one of South America's largest and most significant watersheds, were severely damaged in February 2022 when wildfires destroyed 60% of Ibera National Park and 10% of the Corrientes province.

Rewilding, which promotes the restoration of natural processes, is a crucial technique for enhancing the wetlands' resistance to climatic calamities.

The return of key species, like the largest feline of the Americas, restores health and integrity, which are crucial elements that help reduce the global loss of biodiversity, climate change, and the emergence of pandemics. Key species play a fundamental role in the structure and functioning of ecosystems.

Wildlife viewing options in Ibera contribute to the creation of jobs through ecotourism.

"I am pleased with the news that one of the two original jaguar cubs born at the Ibera breeding project has fresh new cubs of her own," said Kristine Tompkins, president of Tompkins Conservation and U.N. Patron of Protected Areas.

The jaguar species is on the road to recovery now that it can successfully procreate in the wild.

Although jaguars are currently only found in northern Mexico and northern Argentina, Texas and New Mexico were formerly thought to be home to them.

Although wetlands and forested areas are often their favored habitats, they may also be found in scrub and desert.

The Amazon jungle is where their biggest known population may be found.

The species is threatened by trophy hunting, the illicit trafficking in body parts, habitat degradation and fragmentation, and retaliatory murders brought on by the loss of cattle.

This story was provided to Newsweek by Zenger News.
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