In 2019, Fundación Greenpeace Argentina and the Argentine Association of Environmental Lawyers/CAJE brought a case before the Supreme Court of Justice on behalf of the Yaguareté (Jaguar) that lives in the Argentine Gran Chaco against four provinces of northern Argentina – Salta, Chaco, Santiago del Estero and Formosa – arguing that the country should recognize the rights of the Jaguar species – “allow said species to continue to exist, enjoy its ecosystems, maintaining its plans for life, health, well-being, food, freedom, reproduction and security of the last less than 20 vulnerable subjects”. The lawsuit asks for an end to deforestation in the Argentinian Gran Chaco forest and asks the court to recognize that jaguars have rights. In 2021, Fundación Greenpeace Argentina filed a request for urgent injunctive relief (medidas cautelares) due to the emergence of new evidence regarding the alleged systemic violations of the National Forest Law in the Province of Chaco and the consequent deforestation in the province, affecting the habitat for endangered jaguars.
This action follows previous legal actions in 2015 and 2016 in Argentina on behalf of orangutans and chimpanzees to recognize two individual animals as a “non-human person”. Unlike these previous actions, this case is the first time an action has been brought in Argentina in the name and representation of an entire species.
The regions Salta, Chaco, Santiago del Estero and Formosa have experienced rapid deforestation in recent decades as a result of the introduction of genetically modified soy two decades ago. The jaguar population in Argentina is estimated at 250 individuals – approximately 160 individuals in the Yungas Forest, 80 in the Paranaense Forest, and 20 in the Gran Chaco region.