THE GREAT IBERÁ PARK
The Great Iberá Park protects large areas of grasslands where many species of endangered birds live, like the Strange-tailed tyrant and the Black and White Monjita. It also protects important populations of other threatened species, like the pampas deer, the marsh deer, the maned wolf, the crowned Eagle and a high diversity of Paraná fish.
Starting in 1998, Rewilding Argentina have acquired more than 150,000 hectares in the Iberá basin that have been donated to the Argentine state in stages to help create the Great Iberá Park.
This protected territory assures the growth of a new kind of regional economy based on nature tourism, supported by local governments and private entrepreneurs. Activities related to wildlife viewing, in addition to the cultural richness of the islanders from the Iberá marshes and local gauchos, will be enhanced by the growing population of re-introduced species.
THE RETURN OF THE yaguareté
Because of its size and the extensive natural habitat, this huge conservation area offers a unique opportunity for the re-introduction of species that were locally extinct like the giant anteater, the tapir, collared peccary, the ocelot, giant river otter, and the jaguar.
The loss of wildlife that occurred across Argentina was especially pronounced in the province of Corrientes, and was particularly devastating in the region now protected by the Great Iberá Park. In fact, the «Correntino» lands lost many species, including the majority of its birds and large mammals.
During this process of de-faunization, the jaguar, giant river otter, tapir, collared and while-lipped peccaries, the giant anteater, bare-faced curassow and green-winged and violet macaws disappeared from Corrientes, and in some cases, from the country and the world. Other species, such as the pampas deer, maned wolf, ocelot, paca and the red-legged seriema, suffered great reductions in their populations.
Since 2007, Rewilding Argentina have been working in Great Iberá Park to reverse the biodiversity crisis with the re-introduction of species that went extinct in the region and by augmenting the populations of those species that have survived but with greatly reduced numbers.
The jaguar (Panthera onca) is the largest feline of the Americas and one of the most endangered mammals of Argentina, which has a population estimated at about 200 animals in 2018. The species went extinct in the province of Corrientes in the middle of the twentieth century due to hunting, habitat loss and the loss of its natural prey.
The jaguar is a species that is essential to maintain the health and integrity of the wild ecosystems where it lives, but also has the potential to be a “first-order” attraction for tourists who visit Argentina in search of wildlife and natural landscapes.
Iberá Park has the best conditions to carry out a successful re-introduction of this species in the country — its huge protected area has abundant prey with suitable habitat and the people of Corrientes support the return of this species once so emblematic of the Province.