Environmentalists and artists in the Pantanal, an enormous wetland area shared by Brazil, Bolivia and Argentina, have launched a campaign to save the endangered jaguar.

The campaign was announced Saturday in Corumba, a city in Brazil's Mato Grosso do Sul state.

The Pantanal sprawls over 250,000 sq. kilometers (96,526 sq. miles), an area as big as Portugal, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Belgium combined.

The region is home to thousands of species of plants and animals, many of them found only in the huge wetlands, and one of the last refuges of the jaguar.

The campaign to protect the jaguar is being promoted by the Fundacion Boticario de Proteccion de la Naturaleza and started with a series of cultural events to raise public awareness about the plight of the big cats.

"What we want to do is provide knowledge and information, and in some way influence the attitudes of people, from children to adults," scientist Grasiela Porfirio, one of the campaign's organizers, said.

Hundreds of Corumba residents and tourists turned out for "Jaguar Saturday," an event that included plays, environmental workshops and photography exhibitions focusing on jaguars.

"By learning more about jaguars and discovering their importance for the Pantanal, it is possible for people to become more concerned about their survival," Gustavo Gaertner, another campaign organizer, said.

The biggest threats to jaguars are poaching and the expansion of farms in Mato Grosso do Sul, a state that has become an important agricultural center in recent years, scientific studies say. EFE