A captive female jaguar gave birth to two cubs after mating with a wild male in Argentina after being ‘set up’ to meet inside a huge man-made cage.
The male jaguar, Qaramta, was found by wildlife conservationists at Chaco province’s El Impenetrable National Park in September 2019.
His footprints were found in the 100,000 hectare natural park looking for female but without success.
Conservationists from nongovernment organization Rewilding Argentina used a captive female named Tobuna to lure the male in and put a tracking collar on him to monitor his movements.
They thought of building a corral for Qaramta – which was big enough to make him feel like he was in the wild – before setting him up with Tobuna’s daughter Tania as the former was too old for the male.
On October, right when Tania was in heat, two cubs were conceived after mating with the male jaguar who was then released back into the wild.
Sebastian Di Martino, director at the nongovernment organization Rewilding Argentina, said the two animal’s union is ‘unique in the world.’
He said: ‘Crossing a wild male with a captive female is unique in the world and now they have two cubs.’
‘On January 29, she went into the woods and we did not see her anymore, and she did not answer to our noises informing her that there was food for her, and we suspected that she had given birth in the woods.’
The jaguar is listed as ‘Near Threatened’ on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, though its status is in review and may be elevated to “Vulnerable” in the next few years.
In Argentina, there are only around 250 of the species left so wildlife conservationists are making intense efforts to revive them.