‘Happy ending’: Jaguar cubs born to rare wild-captive parents in Argentina
In Argentina an unusual love story has had a happy ending after two rare jaguar cubs were born to a wild jaguar father and a mother who has lived all her life in captivity.
The northern province of Chaco and conservation group Rewilding Argentina said on Wednesday that the cubs were born to Tania and Qaramta, whose name means 'The One Who Cannot Be Destroyed' in the regional Qom language.
With wild jaguars largely wiped out in the area around the Impenetrable national park, the successful mating is a glimmer of light as conservationists try to re-grow population numbers.
"They are a kind of symbol, starting with the recovery of the jaguar in the Chaco that if we didn't do something would end up becoming extinct," Sebastián Di Martino, conservation director at Rewilding Argentina, said in an interview.
The two cubs were born in the early hours of January 30, Di Martino said. They will be raised at the Impenetrable park until they are ready to be released to their natural habitat.
"Here we had the crossing of a wild male, who had never been locked up, with a captive female who never lived free," said Di Martino, adding that they had not found a similar case anywhere else in the world.
The feline courtship began in 2019 in the dense forests of the 320,000-acre Impenetrable park, after the young male Qaramta was first detected by a paw print in a muddy river bed.
Over nine months Qaramta and Tania, who came from a local zoo, got acquainted through the fence of her enclosure, before Qaramta was allowed inside for a face-to-face encounter late last year.
Researchers at the time were unable to confirm that the two jaguars had mated, but had said it appeared they had a "good time together." It appears now to have been a full success.