Macho B, America's Last Jaguar, Is Illegally Trapped, Radio-Collared, and Killed Off by Wildlife Biologists in Arizona
"The life or death of a single animal has no bearing on recovery of an entire species, especially where breeding populations range from northern Mexico in central America and all the way to Brazil and Argentina in South America."
-- Arizona Game and Fish Department
Throughout the history of their miserable existence wildlife biologists have done an extraordinary amount of evil and precious little good, but their recent trapping, electronic collaring, and coldblooded murder of Macho B is sans doute one of their most egregious crimes.
Known as the last American jaguar, fifteen-year-old Macho B was caught in a leghold trap set by officials of the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AGFD) on February 18th in a rugged mountain area south of Tucson and near the Mexican border. (See photo above of the area and of Macho B following his initial release.)
According to AGFD, Macho B was inadvertently caught in a snare designed for cougars and black bears. That study, which almost certainly involved them being fitted with surveillance collars, had been going on for more than a year.
Since they now had Macho B at their mercy, the wildlife biologists then anesthetized him and fitted him with a satellite tracking collar before releasing him. This is not in the record, but it usually is standard procedure under those circumstances for biologists to also take blood and tissue samples as well as to weigh and measure all animals that they trap and tag.
Consequently, the trap could have done irreparable damage to Macho B's leg and if a biopsy were taken the wound later could have become infected. It also is conceivable that he could have picked up some type of disease from the biologists.
Based upon data obtained from the satellite collar, the biologists concluded on February 28th that Macho B had become lethargic and a team was dispatched to locate him. Aided by bloodhounds, they were able to run Macho B to ground on March 2nd and dart him.
The cat then was transported to the Phoenix Zoo where blood was drawn and he was subjected to a complete physical examination. Based upon the information obtained from those procedures, he was diagnosed to be suffering from renal failure.
Veterinarians at the zoo, AGFD, and the bloodthirsty fiends at the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) then put their acuminate heads together and decided that under no circumstances could he be permitted to go on living. "Acting on the veterinarians' recommendation, the USFWS and AGFD decided to euthanize him rather than rerelease him to the wild, where his debilitated condition would likely cause prolonged suffering before death," the AGFD states on its web site.
Therefore, less than five hours after his darting, Macho B lay dead at the Phoenix Zoo. It is even doubtful that he ever regained consciousness.
In the furor that has erupted following the public disclosure of his murder, almost every aspect of the wildlife biologists' rather tall tale has been called into question by eyewitnesses, outside veterinarians, politicians, and conservation groups. Most notably, it is alleged that Macho B's initial trapping and collaring were planned well in advance as opposed to being accidental.
For its part, AGFD vociferously denies that claim. "The Department and Commission did not authorize or condone intentional initial capture of this jaguar," it stated April 2nd on its web site.
Whether it was intentional or accidental, there can be no doubt that AGFD was tickled pink to have bagged such a trophy. Far from being just any ordinary jaguar, Macho B was well-known to AGFD in that his image had been repeatedly captured on trail cameras ever since 1996. (See photo above.)
It therefore did not come as any surprise when the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) announced on May 12th that it intends to bring legal action against AGFD for trapping Macho B without a permit as is required for all animals protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The CBD also is seeking a court injunction to block the future trapping of jaguars that wander in from south of the border.
"It is disturbing that AGFD seems committed to doing the exact thing that resulted in the terrible loss of the jaguar, and we're determined that no more jaguars go through what Macho B went through," the CBD's Michael Robinson told the Arizona Capitol Times of Phoenix on May 15th. (See "Environmental Group Plans to Sue over Jaguar Capture.")
Much for pertinently, CBD and other groups familiar with the case insist that tissue samples taken from Macho B failed to show any signs of kidney failure. On the contrary, they claim that it was a combination of stress brought on by his being captured twice and the debilitating side effects of the anesthesia that killed him.
Moreover, he was quite elderly for a Panthera onca and trapping and anesthetizing animals in his age group can sometimes be fatal. That at least is what Alan Rabinowitz of Panthera in New York City told National Geographic on March 3rd. (See "First Jaguar Caught in U.S. Put to Sleep.")
Even Dean Rice, a veterinarian at the Phoenix Zoo who performed a necropsy on Macho B, concurs in part. "I'm sure the kidneys were going bad for some time. Kidneys don't go bad at the snap of a finger," he told the Los Angeles Times on March 5th. (See "Jaguar Macho B's Capture May Have Hastened His Death.") "If you sedate someone with drugs and the kidneys aren't working, the sedative can have a negative effect. My guess is that sedation probably aggravated his kidneys."
He then went on to ludicrously add, "I'm glad they collared him. Otherwise he would have just gone off and died somewhere on his own."
Although it is uncertain what role, if any, he played in the decision to end Macho's B's life, the only logical conclusion that can be drawn from his incongruent statements is that Rice is glad the cat is dead.
Even AGFD's claim that he was killed in order to spare him from prolonged suffering is an astounding statement for alleged wildlife advocates to make. After all, suffering and death are as endemic to nature as they are to civilized society.
If he had been given the choice, there can be little doubt that Macho B would have chosen prolonged suffering and death all alone in the wilderness that he loved as opposed to a premature end in a sterile and utterly terrifying veterinary clinic run by a gaggle of fascist frauds who have an appalling disregard for the sanctity of all animal life.
This is made abundantly clear by AGFD on its web site: "The life or death of a single animal has no bearing on recovery of an entire species, especially where breeding populations range from northern Mexico into Central America all the way to Brazil and Argentina in South America."
AGFD furthermore is charging that critics of its treatment of Macho B are motivated by an ulterior motive. "Unfortunately, some people and organizations are also using this unfortunate incident to try to politically influence the development of a recovery plan and designation of critical habitat in the United States," it states on its web site.
Ever since the American jaguar was granted protection under the ESA in 1997, conservation groups, such as CBD, have been at loggerheads with the USFWS over its steadfast refusal to prepare a recovery plan for the species and to set aside critical habitat for it. Amazingly enough, the jaguar is the only native species that the USFWS has refused to protect and that is in spite of the fact that both measures are mandated by the ESA.
All of that could be about to change, however, thanks to a March 30th ruling by Federal District Court Judge John M. Roll in Tucson that requires the USFWS to reconsider its decision not to prepare a recovery plan for the American jaguar. Under the ruling, the USFWS has been ordered to return to court next January and explain its position.
"Judge Roll has thrown a lifeline to one of North America's most endangered animals," Robinson of CBD said in an April 1st press release. (See "Judge Strikes Down Refusal to Recover Jaguars, Protect U.S. Habitat.")
The USFWS's clearly illegal conduct raises the thought-provoking question of just why is it so antagonistic toward jaguars? One possible explanation is that the antipathy that if harbors in its bosom toward jaguars is merely a logical extension of its virulent hatred of domestic cats.
There also are economic and political considerations as well. In particular, ranchers are strenuously opposed to jaguars and they exercise considerable political clout in both Phoenix and Washington.
That certainly would go a long way toward explaining AGFD's cavalier dismissal of Macho B's death as unimportant. Now, with the last American jaguar dead, local ranchers are no doubt dancing in their cow pastures. It is even conceivable that the USFWS could have been operating under the belief that if it somehow got rid of Macho B it would not have to prepare a recovery plan for the species.
Macho B's trapping and death therefore solved a conflict of interest for both the USFWS and ranchers and thus allows them to return to exploiting and killing animals on a full-time basis. It is, after all, important to bear in mind that it was precisely the USFWS and other federal agencies that were responsible for shooting, poisoning, and trapping the cats into extinction during the early days of the twentieth century.
Plus, Macho B clearly was worth considerably more financially dead than alive to the USFWS and its affiliated organizations and institutions who traffic in the bones, pelts, and tissues of exotic cats. Par exemple, no fewer than nine institutions and individuals have so far received bits and pieces of Macho B's corpse.
In particular, the Phoenix Zoo, the Arizona Veterinary Diagnostic Lab, the United States Geological Survey Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wisconsin, and the University of California at Davis have received tissue samples taken from Macho B's vital organs. The University of Arizona in Tucson and the American Museum of Natural History in New York City also are receiving blood, hair, and saliva samples.
The San Diego Zoo is getting the cat's carcass as well as unspecified tissue samples and one of his premolars was extracted and sent to Montana for cementum aging by specialists. Finally, a taxidermist divested Macho B of this valuable pelt and sent it to a tanner for preservation.
That is precisely what happened to the remains of an unnamed cougar that was mercilessly gunned by the Chicago Police in April of last year after it wandered into town. (See Cat Defender post of May 5, 2008 entitled "Chicago's Rambo-Style Cops Corner and Execute a Cougar to the Delight of the Hoi Polloi and Capitalist Media.")
It is simply mind-boggling that wildlife biologists, zoos, museums, and other highbrows are allowed to commit with impunity the exact same crimes that poachers are jailed for perpetrating under the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Just as a rich girl who sleeps around is no less of a slut than a poor girl who does likewise, scientists who traffic in endangered species, or in any animal for that matter, are no better than glorified poachers.
Being not only bloodthirsty killers but shameless shekel and fame chasers as well, wildlife biologists and their buddies in the scientific and intellectual communities have repeatedly demonstrated the grotesque lengths that they are prepared to go in order to advance their careers. These individuals are so morally bankrupt that they not only refuse to give their victims proper burials but instead insist upon mutilating their corpses as well.
In a way, their barbaric treatment of the dead is even more illustrative of the types of individuals they are than their hideous crimes. In the final analysis, it is nothing short of criminal for such moral degenerates to hold any positions of either power or influence in society.
After correctly concluding that AGFD's internal investigation into Macho B's killing could not possibly be objective, the CBD and Congressman Raul M. Grijalva of Arizona turned around and ludicrously asked the USFWS to investigate. (See CBD press release of April 2, 2009 entitled "Federal Investigation Called for on Capture of Macho B, Euthanized Last American Jaguar.")
Grijalva furthermore compounded this idiocy (or is it a cover-up?) on May 7th by calling on the Interior Department's Office of Inspector General to launch an investigation into its own agency, i.e., the USFWS! (See photo above on the right of Grijalva.)
"Specifically, it appears that at all levels and at every stage of this process, mistakes were made, and decisions taken that may not have been in the best interests of the animal," he is quoted in the May 8th edition of the Arizona Daily Star of Tucson as stating in a letter to the Inspector General. (See "Second Macho B Inquiry Sought.") "Serious allegations have been made about the agencies' and federal and state employees' roles in this matter..."
As expected, the USFWS vehemently denies that it is biased and therefore incapable of policing its agents. "My policies do not hinder me from investigating anybody within the Fish and Wildlife Service or the Game and Fish Department or any other government agency if there is a specific violation of the statutes we enforce," the agency's Nicholas Chavez shot back to the Arizona Daily Star.
That is pure drivel. Not only is the USFWS totally dishonest but so, too, is the entire tightly-knit wildlife protection community. For example, when the USFWS went shopping for a pack of lies in order to justify its coldblooded murder of more than two-hundred cats on San Nicolas Island it turned to its buddies at W.T. Harvey Associates of Fresno who, for a price, obliged it with a one-sided, anti-cat screed.
Furthermore, at no time during the preparation of its indictment against the cats were any cat advocacy groups contacted for input. (See Cat Defender post of June 27, 2008 entitled "United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the Navy Hatch a Diabolical Plan to Gun Down Two-Hundred Cats on San Nicolas Island.")
It additionally enticed its allies within the capitalist media, especially the Ventura County Star of Camarillo, into serving as its de facto department of agitprop. (See Cat Defender post of July 10, 2008 entitled "The Ventura County Star Races to the Defense of the Cat Killers on San Nicolas Island.")
Finally, the USFWS conspired with the capitalist media and other groups in order to truncate the legally mandated thirty-day period for public comment on its diabolical plan to a measly twelve days. (See Cat Defender post of April 28, 2009 entitled "Quislings at the Humane Society Sell Out San Nicolas's Cats to the Assassins at the Diabolical United States Fish and Wildlife Service.")
The USFWS, state wildlife agencies, and their colleagues in the universities are always up to something immoral and illegal. Moreover, being pathological liars as well, no one can believe a word that they have to say on any subject.
They have their own agendas and they always play to win. Unfortunately, with little or no outside oversight of their activities they have grown accustomed to getting away with just about anything.
For example, the USFWS's sister agency, Wildlife Services, spends around $120 million each year systematically exterminating between two and three millions animals at the behest of ranchers, farmers, developers, municipalities, golf course operators, and other economic concerns. (See Cat Defender posts of September 15, 2005 and March 10, 2009 entitled, respectively, "United States Government Exterminates Millions of Wild Animals at the Behest of Capitalists" and "Audubons' Dirty Dealings with the Mercenary United States Fish and Wildlife Service Redound to the Detriment of Acorn Woodpeckers.")
For anyone to even dare suggest that wildlife officials are capable of fairly investigating themselves is tantamount to assigning the Boston Strangler to investigate Jack the Ripper! If the truth is ever to win out and justice to prevail, a team of experts selected from outside the wildlife establishment must be assembled in order to investigate the killing of Macho B.
Even they would be severely handicapped by not only their limited expertise in conservation matters, but also by their unfamiliarity with the tactics and crimes of wildlife biologists. Nevertheless, only such a panel is capable to getting at the truth.
Macho B's tragic death once again has focused attention on the cruel, inhumane, and deadly practice of electronically monitoring animals. On its web site, AGFD states that Macho B was tagged because it wanted to know how often he visited Mexico.
First of all, it is not anyone's bloody business how often he or any other animal visits Mexico or anywhere else for that matter. Besides, the various wildlife services maintain innumerable cameras in situ in order to answer that question.
Furthermore, AGFD argues that it needed to know if Macho B returned to Mexico in order to have sex. Since the last female American jaguar was killed near the Grand Canyon in 1963, it is quite obvious that if he was still mating it was in Mexico.
Thirdly, AGFD argues that Macho B was tagged so that it could learn how, when, and where he hunted. Once again, that is superfluous information that AGFD has no legitimate reason for collecting.
None of those rationales have anything to do with conservation and everything to do with collecting data that could be used by the USFWS to assist ranchers and thus thwart any attempt to reestablish the cats in the southwestern United States. That is the real reason Macho B was collared and killed.
Even more revealing is the AGFD's admission that satellite collars are of limited value in rough terrain, such as that of southern Arizona. "Tracking-collar data are extremely limited because the area is so rugged that the tracking collar signal cannot reach the satellite network," the agency confesses on its web site.
If that is indeed the case, it calls into question the validity of tagging cougars, black bears, and the Mexican gray wolf. The CBD therefore should be demanding that all trapping and tagging be immediately stopped in the southwest. It would be better still if it could see its way clear to fight for the abolition of this odious practice everywhere.
The collar that Macho B was fitted with was rather large and heavy. Although AGFD insists that it did not impede his movements or ability to hunt, it nevertheless did cut into ears and the battery pack pressed up against his throat.
Under those circumstances, it is hard to think of it as being anything other than an albatross around his neck. (See photos above.)
Since the battery was expected to last for a maximum of only eighteen months, Macho B would have been chased by bloodhounds and darted every year or so until the day that he finally dropped dead. In fact, that is the cruel fate that awaits all animals once they have been tagged. (See Cat Defender posts of February 29, 2008 and May 4, 2006 entitled, respectively, "The Repeated Hounding Down and Tagging of Walruses Exposes Electronic Surveillance as Not Only Cruel but a Fraud" and "Scientific Community's Use of High-Tech Surveillance Is Aimed at Subjugating, Not Saving, the Animals.")
Worst still, if Macho B ever have been accused of killing a cow or menacing an individual, the wildlife biologists would have immediately dispatched a team of assassins to have eliminated him. That is how the USFWS treats gray wolves both in Alaska and the Rockies. Often they use helicopters and planes with onboard satellite receivers that hone in on the location of the collared and doomed animals.
It is difficult, however, to deliver a clean shot to a moving target from an aircraft and as the result these coldblooded assassins quite often only wound their intended victims. The wolves and other animals hunted in this barbaric fashion are thus left to limp off into the brush where they eventually bleed to death.
Next door in New Mexico, the USFWS not only provides ranchers with satellite receivers so that they can track the movements of radio-collared Mexican gray wolves but it also knowingly cooperates with them in their elaborate schemes to entrap the animals into killing cows. (See photo above of a Mexican gray wolf.)
Once the wolves fall for the bait and kill any of these sacrificial cows, the USFWS immediate steps in and kills the wolves. The ranchers and the USFWS thus win all the time while the wolves do not have a prayer in Hell of surviving. (See High Country News, December 24, 2007, "Last Chance for the Lobo.")
In addition to making it doubly easy for wildlife biologists to track, spy on, and purposefully kill animals, trapping and tagging initiatives also cause the accidental deaths of thousands of them each year. Since both governmental agencies as well as private conservation groups freely engage in this diabolical practice, they should be compelled to publicly disclose exactly how many animals they kill and injure each year in this manner.
In a recent case that generated nationwide attention, wildlife biologists with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation accidentally killed a one-year-old coyote named Hal after he wandered into Manhattan's Central Park. (See photo above.)
Instead of simply returning him to the wild, they suffocated him to death while attempting to attach a surveillance tag to his ear. (See Cat Defender post of April 17, 2006 entitled "Hal the Central Park Coyote Is Suffocated to Death by Wildlife Biologists Attempting to Tag Him.")
Although it is wildlife that is harmed the most extensively by electronic surveillance, domestic animals are by means exempt from the deleterious effects of modern technology. For example, microchips implanted in cats and dogs have not only limited efficacy but raise serious health concerns as well. (See Cat Defender posts of May 25, 2006 and September 21, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Plato's Misadventures Expose the Pitfalls of RFID Technology as Applied to Cats" and "FDA Is Suppressing Research That Shows Implanted Microchips Cause Cancer in Mice, Rats, and Dogs.")
It therefore is imperative that all invasive electronic monitoring of animals be outlawed as soon as possible. The only way that they can be protected is through the establishment of legally protected habitats where all developers, hunters, and wildlife biologists are barred from entering. Only when it is employed in order to keep out these personae non gratae can electronic surveillance be of any benefit to the animals.
That is not about to happen anytime soon, however, because wildlife officials have become too powerful. Besides a cottage industry has grown up around the sale of traps, bait, radio collars, microchips, and satellite receivers on the one hand and the manufacture of guns and ammunition on the other hand.
Wildlife biologists thus have become the lords of the universe. It is they who now decide which animals are going to be permitted to go on living and under what conditions.
With Macho B now dead, it is uncertain if the CBD is going to be able to prevail against the USFWS in court. The anti-immigration fence along the Mexican border is likewise going to severely limit the number of jaguars that are going to be visiting from Mexico. Moreover, even those who do make it across the border face a hostile reception from both ranchers and wildlife biologists.
Although the species is listed as near threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), it enjoys a range that extends from the southwestern United States to northern Argentina. Poaching, predation by farmers and ranchers, deforestation, fragmentation of its habitat, and hurricanes are nevertheless taking their toll on the cats.
The good news is that quite a bit is being done to help the cats in their southern range. Naturalia, for instance, is buying up farms in Mexico to serve as their habitat.
Pathera also has bought up ranches in the Pantanal area of Brazil in order to create a biological corridor for the cats. It additionally has inaugurated an innovative program with Mount Sinai Medical School in Manhattan whereby physicians trained in jaguar conservation are being sent to the Pantanal to set up schools and health clinics.
The rationale behind this initiative is not only to assist the residents but to provide them with incentives to stop killing jaguars. (See Living on Earth, May 8, 2009, "A Home for Jaguars.")
Photos: AGFD (Macho B with surveillance collar), Emil McCain (a younger Macho B), United States Congress (Grijalva), Jim Clark of USFWS (Mexican gray wolf), and James Carbone of Newsday (Hal).