Rare Jaguar Holds Hopes for Species' Survival

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

A rare Argentine jaguar was added to the Buenos Aires Zoo's DNA bank on Monday as conservationists step up efforts to save the big cat species that is on the brink of extinction.

The 11-year-old jaguar called Tango could be the key to preserving the species for future generations. At the zoo's Biotechnology Reproduction Lab, vets took blood, hair and semen samples from Tango to be stored.

A veterinarian takes a picture inside the mouth of Tango, an eleven-year-old male jaguar, as it undergoes a full medical examination at the Buenos Aires Zoo on Oct. 27, 2014.Enrique Marcarian / Reuters

With an estimated 200 jaguars left in the wild, lab director Adrian Sestelo told Reuters that technology could do its part to save the animal.

"In Argentina there are just 200 jaguars," said Sestelo. "We are lucky to be the country with ten feline species in South America, in our country and we are losing the jaguar. The more we do to bring together all the conservation work for this species the more we can achieve."

The Argentine jaguar used to roam up into southern parts of the United States and down to Patagonia, but they now occupy only 40 percent of their historic range.

About 18,000 jaguars were killed globally every year for their fur in the 1960s and 1970s, but hunting still remains a threat to them today despite anti-fur campaigns.

— Reuters