Tuesday, 23 July 2019

NEWSLINK: Jaguar reintroduction plan in Argentina represents rare good news story for big cats

Driving along the rutted dirt track into Iberá National Park, it is not hard to see why this vast subtropical wetland stretching from horizon to horizon makes for ideal jaguar habitat.

Capybara the size of sheep seem to be chewing the tall grass everywhere. Some even snooze in the middle of the path and only move grudgingly after vehicles stop in front of them.

These outsize rodents, the world’s largest, might be a curiosity for visitors. But for jaguars, they spell something very different — lunch.

That abundance of prey makes Iberá the perfect setting for the groundbreaking Jaguar Reintroduction Project. The brainchild of the late Douglas Tompkins, an American conservation philanthropist better known as the co-founder of the North Face clothing brand, it represents the first attempt to repopulate the big cats, which are highly aquatic, into an area in which they were previously hunted into extinction.

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