Criminal Investigation into the Death of Last Known Jaguar in U.S.

jaguar photo

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R.I.P. Macho B
Sad. Very sad. The last known jaguar in the U.S. is no more. There might even be trial. Jaguars are a protected species under the Endangered Species Act, and there is suspicion that a biologist working for the state illegally baited a trap to catch Macho B (that was the jaguar's name). "Arizona fish and game officials have repeatedly maintained that the snare that first caught the jaguar had been intended for a mountain lion or a black bear," but there seems to be evidence to the contrary. Was this done on purpose? More details below.
jaguar water photo

Photo: Wikipedia, CC

From the NYT:

The 118-pound male jaguar, known as Macho B, was captured on Feb. 18 in a leg-hold snare placed by the Arizona Game and Fish Department in a rugged mountainous area southwest of Tucson. The animal, which was described in field reports as healthy and robust, was tranquilized, equipped with a radio-tracking collar and released from the trap.

The jaguar, which was estimated to be 16 years old, was recaptured with tranquilizing darts on March 2 after wildlife personnel feared that it might be in poor health. It was flown by helicopter to the Phoenix Zoo, where a veterinarian said it had irreversible kidney failure. It was euthanized the same day.

The Arizona Game and Fish Commission says that it didn't authorize the catch, but one employee of Borderland Jaguar Detection Project said that her boss told her to place female jaguar scat within six feet of the leg-hold trap. If that's true, it would seem that the capture was intentional, despite known risks ("Wildlife conservationists had argued against using a snare to catch the jaguar because of the high risk it posed to the animal, especially considering its age.").

In any case, the loss of Macho B is very sad news. Maybe he was the last jaguar in the whole U.S...

Via New York Times
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