To restore a complete ecosystem
Iberá is a nature reserve as large as the Wadden Sea area and consists of lakes, swamps, grassland and forest. The area used to be the territory of many species that also live in ARTIS, such as the great anteater, green wingara, the South American tapir and the jaguar. Before Fundacion Rewilding Argentina started their restoration work, all these species were extinct here. This was mainly due to hunting. The feathers, skin or teeth of these species yielded a lot of money on the black market. The project in this area is committed to restoring the entire ecosystem: from the birds that spread the seeds of plants to America's largest feline, the jaguar.
The return of the jaguar
Over the past two decades, the project has purchased land. Uniquely, it gradually introduced several species to the area. The populations of large anteater, pampas deer and collar partridges now consist of enough animals to survive even without human influence. But also green wingara's, mask hutch's and giant otters can be seen more and more in the air, on land and in the water. After the grazers and other prey animals were introduced into the area, it was time for the top predator to return. For the balance it is important that the jaguars become part of the chain again.
For the reintroduction of the feline there also had to be carrying capacity among the local population. Most of the population did this fortunately: research showed that 95% of the population supports the return of the jaguar. They identify with the animal and worship the jaguar. Since the beginning of 2016, five jaguars have been staying at the project's breeding center in Argentina to care for offspring. At the beginning of June 2018, two cubs were born. They are not only the first cubs born within the project, but also the first jaguars born in Iberá in more than half a century.
Support from ARTIS
With the support of ARTIS, GPS collars have been purchased with which the jaguars can be tracked. The collars allow the project staff to keep an eye on the animals, and the residents know when a jaguar is close by. They can then move their cattle to a safer place, so the jaguar is less of a threat. ARTIS's support is also used, for example, to feed young large anteaters who are taken care of in the area, and later, when they are fully grown, for a GPS harness that tracks the anteaters.
From early 2016 onward, five mature jaguars have resided in the project's centre in Argentina. The jaguars came from zoos and rescue centers around South America and are not candidates for release themselves, but their offspring can be released in Iberá. In June 2018 the first two cubs were born. These new cubs are not only the first newborns born at the CLT Jaguar Reintroduction Program at Iberá Park, but are the first jaguars born in over half century in this region. The two cubs are spotted. This doesn't say anything about their sex.