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Jaguars return to Iberá wetlands after 70-year absence

Argentina ibera jaguar release c rewilding argentina18

Located in the tropical north of Argentina, Iberá is a 1.7 million acre wilderness of parklands. It once formed part of a biological corridor for jaguars that stretched to the American Southwest.

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Argentina ibera rewilding wetlands Yacaré Negro c Florian Von Der Fecht

A rich mosaic of wetlands, grasslands, savanna, palm groves and gallery forests, Iberá is home to the endemic neotropical otter, maned wolf, marsh deer and yacare caiman.

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Argentina ibera yaguareté rewilding vertical c Florian Von Der Fecht

And as of January 2021, jaguars are free-roaming in the park for the first time in 70 years thanks to a collaboration between local authorities and the brilliant folk at Rewilding Argentina.

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A one-of-a-kind facility, the Jaguar Reintroduction Center, located in the wetlands, has so far bred six cubs. Two of these and their mother have just migrated from their enclosure.

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Just as the return of gray wolves to Yellowstone National Park recalibrated whole ecosystems that had fallen out of balance, the return of jaguars will do likewise for Iberá.

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Argentina ibera hotel puerto valle boat ride at sunset

Jaguars will not only help the wetlands to recover from decades of cattle grazing and hunting, they have also long been a cultural symbol of strength for the Guaraní people.

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As the three jaguars sniff out their new tropical surrounds, one of the young cubs initially looks a little bit unsure of the big, wide world that it'll now call home...

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... but the other cub is quick to provide some reassurance. There are only around 200 jaguars in Argentina, with another nine expected to be released here in 2021.

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Brazil pantanal jaguar in the jungle pantanal brazil

Like other top predators, jaguars are a keystone species in the ecosystems, regulating the environment through predation, supporting the abundance of other species.

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Argentina ibera macaws c tompkins conservation

As well as the jaguars, red-and-green macaws are also living wild in Iberá after a long absence. Chicks born here in November 2020 were the first to be born in the wild for 150 years.

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Argentina ibera wetlands capybara Carpincho rewilding c Rafael Abuin

This a special place to visit, described by Pura team member Linda as "a place of rich and layered natural beauty, like stepping lightly into a world where nature still dictates everything."

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Argentina ibera hotel puerto valle lake boat ride

Each day you can explore on foot, by kayak or by boat, rising early with the birds, watching sunset with a drink and venturing out after dark to see nocturnal creatures up close.

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Argentina patagonia parque puma c hernan povedano rewilding argentina

As well as Iberá, the foundation is working to protect pumas, sea lions and more in Patagonia. You can visit three of their projects on our special Rewilding Argentina holiday

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Argentina ibera rewilding wetlands Yacaré Negro c Florian Von Der Fecht
Argentina ibera yaguareté rewilding vertical c Florian Von Der Fecht
Argentina ibera jaguar release c rewilding argentina4
Argentina ibera jaguar release c rewilding argentina16
Argentina ibera hotel puerto valle boat ride at sunset
Argentina ibera jaguar release c rewilding argentina9
Argentina ibera jaguar release c rewilding argentina15
Brazil pantanal jaguar in the jungle pantanal brazil
Argentina ibera macaws c tompkins conservation
Argentina ibera wetlands capybara Carpincho rewilding c Rafael Abuin
Argentina ibera hotel puerto valle lake boat ride
Argentina patagonia parque puma c hernan povedano rewilding argentina

In January 2021, an adult jaguar and her two captive-born cubs took their first steps into the wilds of Iberá wetlands. They are the first jaguars to roam free here for 70 years, after the species was driven to local extinction through hunting and habitat loss. This major conservation victory marked the culmination of years of dedicated and intelligent work by our friends at Rewilding Argentina. We're delighted to celebrate the achievement, and proud to share and protect these precious wetlands with you through small scale and planet positive tourism.

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