Argentines study tiger reserves in State

They want to adopt the model to save jaguars

A team of wildlife experts from Argentina is visiting the Bandipur and Nagarahole tiger reserves to study the conservation methods adopted.

The teams will take back lessons from the tiger reserves so that Argentina’s own endangered species, the Jaguar, is reintroduced and protected in that country. 

Ignacio Simenez, Sofia Heinonen and Valeria Francisco of The Conservation Land Trust (CLT), who are visiting the world’s largest tiger density areas, plan to reintroduce the Jaguar in Argentina’s first naturally protected area, Poa de Corrientes (in the north of the country).

“The Jaguar was abundant  in Argentina earlier, but a drastic hunting of the animal and its prey have brought down numbers. We are planning to reintroduce the big cat.

However, the problem is protection, which we need to learn from India, especially Bandipur and Nagarahole,” said Simenez, recovery co-ordinator of CLT.

Describing their visit to Bandipur and Nagarahole as significant, Simenez said, “You have been able to successfully protect and conserve tigers who are in high density, in this small patch. There are many problems here too, but you have successfully protected the big cat. In Argentina, we have less problems, but are unable to protect jaguars.”

Simenez said India’s wildlife management reputation is good worldwide. This country will be a good place to learn from. 

“We too have challenges such as corruption. Despite this, India has succeeded in protecting wildlife. Reintroduction of tiger in Sariska and protection at Ranthambore are lessons for us.”

The members of CLT, which owns over 1.5 lakh hectares within the 5.5 lakh hectares of Poa de Corrientes, say they need to look at economic reasons like tapping the tourism potential of Jaguar. 

“You have cultural values that help conservation. In fact, the tiger as a tourist resource has been a success story. Cultural grounding makes it easy. For us, there are indigenous people within the reserve for whom Jaguar is symbolic. They call it Yaguarete, but all over Argentina there is not much concern. To rope them all in, we need to develop economic reasons. At least one lakh people will visit the park if the Jaguar is reintroduced,” said Heinonen, president of CLT.

During their two-week stay, the team will study the problems involved and discuss with people working for the conservation of tigers and elephants. New problems like roads passing through sanctuaries and deaths of animals will also be discussed.

The team will study various conservation approaches like joint efforts of the forest department and NGOs. 

The need to hold awareness programmes by the forest department to protect animals and measures to handle conflict will be deliberated upon. 

Jaguar, an endemic animal to South America, appears like a leopard. 

But, it is huge like the Indian tiger and preys on Capybara, a large rodent and another endemic species of South America.

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