Argentina may be one of the richest countries when it comes to biodiversity, but things are not looking good for the survival of several species. The Panthera orca, better known as jaguar or yaguareté, is one of the six species in risk of extinction, alongside the yellow cardinal, Mendoza’s Pehuenche frog, the Ruddy-headed goose, the Pampas deer and the naked characin.
The jaguar was named a National Natural Landmark back in 2001, but only three percent of the population still survives within their natural habitat, according to an investigation conducted by the Institute of Subtropical Biology, a partnership between the National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET). There are only 200 jaguars left in Argentina, and unless there’s a radical change, the species is expected to disappear in the next 50 years, partly thanks to the loss of more than 85 percent of the Atlantic Forest, the jaguar’s home.
Sergio Bergman, the Minister of Environment, told La Nación “It is necessary to enforce a state policy that has been in the works since 2004, but was never applied.” After a few meetings with the local and regional civil societies, the National Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development launched the “Zero Extinction” program, aimed at saving endangered species through education.
Another project goal is specie reintroduction. For example, a jaguar called Chiqui was brought from Paraguay to the Iberá Wetlands thanks to the participation of both countries, the Corrientes’ province and the NGO Conservation Land Trust (CLT). “Reintroduction is a much more ambitious project, and we’re in talks with other nations, because Brazil is also having problems with the jaguar, and it’s necessary to create environmental corridors for them to develop,” Bergman added.
Around 12 percent of national territory is protected, but that’s not enough. Experts agree that conservation should be stronger in the agenda of several departments, such as the Department of Energy and Mining and the Department of Agroindustry, which usually make major national environmental decisions. The newest goal is to create a national climate change office, but provinces should take part as well.
However, such an office can only be realized with financing. Only 0.5 percent of the national budget goes to environmental care, while most funding for conservation comes from international programs.
While you wait for the government to take action to save those beautiful big cats, you can download the Ecoalarm app, which features nine tracks for you to wake up to, with sounds from the “Impenetrable” Chaco forest, the Misiones rainforest and the Andean Patagonian woods. Every time a track is played, Spotify donates a small amount to the Banco de Bosques Foundation.