Mating Wild and Captive Jaguars to Save the Species

Nov 19, 2020 | Rewilding

Nov 11, 2020 –IMPENETRABLE NATIONAL PARK, ARG On October 17, 2020, an unlikely romance was underway in the Gran Chaco. A wild jaguar, the first discovered in Impenetrable National Park, entered the pen of a captive jaguar with the promise of mating. Their encounter is the product of months of a strange, socially-distanced courtship undertaken across solid steel fencing, monitored by cameras and a team of hopeful scientists from Rewilding Argentina. If the pairing is successful, these jaguars will become the first wild-captive pair to mate in history, key progenitors in an effort to repopulate a top predator of the Americas.

Matchmaking wild and not-so-wild jaguars is a highly creative solution to the larger issue of saving wild jaguars, a priority put forth by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) at the most recent World Conservation Congress in September, 2020. The largest feline in the Americas, they have lost over half their historical range from the southern US to Argentina, a loss of habitat which has left several populations of the species geographically isolated and some individuals unable to encounter mating partners.

Jaguars were thought to be already extinct in El Impenetrable National Park, created in 2014 with help from Tompkins Conservation.