Gran Chaco

The Jaguar in the vast Chaco Argentino

Santiago del Estero, Chaco, Formosa and east of Salta

The vast Chaco region covers much of northern Argentina and is divided into two subregions: the Dry Chaco and the humid Chaco.

It spans several political provinces, but in this section we are interested primarily in Santiago del Estero, Chaco, Formosa and eastern Salta, which are those that still have Jaguar populations.

With temperatures above 45 Celsius degrees and very few water sources, but that house an impressive variety of animal species such as the Giant armadillo, the Chacoan peccary, the Gian anteater and still fabulous Yaguareté.

Jaguar distribution in the Chaco ecoregion of Argentina is wide, and of the 3 in the country (the others are Yungas and Atlantic Forest) is the largest in area. However, and although there are no detailed studies to quantify accurately the information that we have it allow us to estimate its density is very low and it is very likely that the population is at the limit of sustainability, ie, of extinction.

In a region with these characteristics, we should not be surprised if we register large displacements, including more than 100 kilometers by an individual. That is, from the point of view of connectivity, yaguaretés of Copo still have theoretical chances of genetically contact with those of La Fidelidad and these to the Bañado La Estrella and southern Paraguay, west Formosa and Chaco salteño, and even with the Pilcomayo River National Park, where there are records not very far in time. Ongoing research will inform us about it, urges expand areas research and sustain them over time.

Santiago del Estero province is the most affected because their Jaguars find refuge almost exclusively in the far northeast, in the Copo National Park and the homonymous provincial reserve as an area with native forest standing. In the rest of the province, the species has been gunned down and is now virtually extinct, occasionally finding as happens in most of its range in Argentina individuals transiting areas of lesser use or frequency of occurrence, as the individual hunted in October 2013 in El Negrito (Santiago del Estero) or registered near Juan Jose Castelli (Chaco) in June 2012 (in this case the Protocol and the provincial and APN authorities applied, in communication with the Jaguar Network /Red Yaguareté, they visited nearby villagers to prevent conflicts). Something characteristic of this great walker cat and should be taken as a fact that needs to be contained until the issue returns to areas of less human presence.

West Formosa (border with Salta province and Paraguay) is an area with relatively frequent records, and that its environmental performance deserves special attention because not we look for individuals residents and the creation of a protected area (we note that Formosa was until recently the only province in northern Argentina that did not have a system of protected areas, but in early 2016 publicly announced its creation) hold allow more effectively than today. The truth is that for jaguars, is an area not yet exhaustively surveyed and over time and which we consider as a priority in this regard.

Even though the population of the Chaco ecoregion is the least studied, we know that is found in most delicate situation, that is why it is of vital importance to the protection of La Fidelidad by creating a National Park there. Regardless of this, which in the Chaco jurisdiction advances steadily (unfortunately not the case in Formosa) – urgently strengthen control and supervision in the area, because in our expeditions found and documented 14 hunting camps only on the shores of the river banks. Since January 2013, the province of Chaco has intensified controls and the situation has significantly improved in the central area, however, to the limits activity persists hunting and Formosa remains the main route of entry of hunters to the river Bermejo, even the naked eye can see, indicating that there is no perception of control or monitoring still enough to persuade them.