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Home to jaguars and eagles, Argentinean national park created thanks to public donations

Two 9-week-old jaguar cubs look out from their exhibit at the Stone Zoo in Stoneham, Mass., Thursday, May 25, 2006.   (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)

Two 9-week-old jaguar cubs look out from their exhibit at the Stone Zoo in Stoneham, Mass., Thursday, May 25, 2006. (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)  ((AP Photo/Mary Schwalm))

Argentines have a new national park that is home to endangered species like jaguars and crowned solitary eagles, thanks to donations from the public to cover the initial cost.

Congress this week passed legislation creating the Impenetrable National Park on 120,000 hectares (nearly 300,000 acres) in northeastern Argentina that belonged to a rancher who was murdered in 2011.

Thousands of individual Argentines as well as civic groups and companies donated 10.5 million pesos ($1.2 million) for the park. The total cost will be 65 million pesos ($7.6 million).

It is Argentina's 32nd national park, and the foundation that led the fundraising effort says it's the first in Latin America started this way. The Smoky Mountain National Park in the United States was created from donations early in the 20th century.

The Argentine fundraising campaign continues. If the government should decide to use its own money for the park's remaining cost, leftover donations will be used to fight poaching, said Emiliano Ezcurra, director of The Forest Bank, the main group behind creation of the park.

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