(And while you are at it, add the blog to your feed … the author is a skeptic, a veterinarian, and an inhabitant of Northern Arizona.)
In the past, I have posted on the status of jaguars here in the Southwest borderlands and have highlighted the case of “Macho B”, a 16 year old male captured, tagged and (eventually) euthanized last year. On Friday, Emil McCain, a biologist for the Borderlands Jaguar Detection Project (website defunct), pled guilty to intentionally trapping the specimen in violation of the Endangered Species Act. It appears that McCain has previously trapped jaguars in operations that resulted in at least three deaths and previously admitted a lack of training in handling the species. Today, charges were also filed against a technician, Janay Brun.
Update: I’ve just reread the following statement by McCain which he made in April 2009:
Macho B has become an international ambassador for jaguar conservation. As we grieve the great cats very unfortunate death, we must not place blame or let it divide us.
“Unfortunate” in the sense of perhaps caused by McCain’s illegal handling of the animal. It is no wonder he did not want blame to be placed.
A few weeks back, I updated you on the story of Macho B, the male jaguar that was captured in southeastern Arizona and subsequently euthanized due to apparent chronic kidney failure. The Arizona Republic is reporting that Sharon Dial, a pathologist at Arizona Veterinary Diagnostic Lab, is claiming that the euthanization was premature and that the jaguar was not suffering from renal failure. The initial diagnosis was made from bloodwork and Dial examined the kidneys:
“Nothing is absolute. There is nothing to say that he absolutely would have recovered, but I can say by looking at the kidneys that there is no structural reason why he would not have,” Dial said. “I’ve looked at a lot of cat kidneys, not jaguar kidneys. For a supposed 15-year-old cat, he had damned good looking kidneys.”
Arizona Game and Fish are recommending caution until a further report from a Wisconsin lab and a statement of findings by Linda Munson at UC Davis are issued:
“It is outrageous, unprofessional and speculative of individuals from the Arizona Veterinary Diagnostic Lab not leading the case to comment and offer opinions based on very incomplete information,” the statement said. “Those individuals from the vet diagnostic lab had no involvement with the evaluation and treatment of Macho B when he was alive, and so their comments are not valid or appropriate.”
More information will, no doubt, be forthcoming.
Update (04/01): Az G& F have ordered a formal investigation.
Update (04/02): The Arizona Republic is reporting:
A newspaper report shows that an Arizona Game and Fish employee and
a biologist with a jaguar detection group apparently planned to trap
one of the rare cats and that a volunteer spread scent to attract it to
Game and Fish has repeatedly characterized the capture as
“inadvertent.” The male cat was euthanized less than two weeks after
its Feb. 18 capture and subsequent release with a tracking collar
fitted, and the case is now being investigated by the Arizona Attorney
Last year I cover the story of “Macho B”, the sixteen year old male jaguar that was tagged, re-captured and eventually euthanized here in Arizona. A report by the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of the Inspector General has appeared which states there is evidence that the capture of the cat was probably intentional and violated the Endangered Species Act. Throughout, the Arizona Game & Fish has claimed that the capture was accidental.
It’s that time of the year again, the time to complete the end of year blog meme. I’ve done this previously in 2008, 2007 & 2006. Rules are simple – post the first line of the first post for every month.
- It has become sort of a tradition for me to present an end-of-year roundup of the “achievements” of the intelligent design movement. [The Year in ID - 2008 Edition]
- New data on creationism in Britain. [ID and YEC in Britain]
- Last week I reported that AZ Game and Fish had recently captured, collared and released a jaguar for the first time. [Update on Southwestern Jaguars]
- A few weeks back, I updated you on the story of Macho B, the male jaguar that was captured in southeastern Arizona and subsequently euthanized due to apparent chronic kidney failure. [Macho B]
- Yet another defeat for the anti-evolutionists. [Di Proxies Defeated in Florida]
- In a recent document, “The Roots of Intelligent Design” [pdf] posted on their new Faith & Evolution website, the Discovery Institute states: [The Roots of ID]
- The Hephaisteion (or Theseion) dominates the hill west of the Agora in Athens. [Hephaisteion]
- Apparently, some YECs don’t consider the Sun to be a star [Sun no longer a star]
- Last Thursday I was lecturing on Kuhn’s idea of scientific revolutions. [Kuhn & Copernicus]
- Jonathan Wells thinks that “duplicating a gene doesn’t increase information content any more than photocopying a paper increases its information content.” [Wells wrong on information ... film at eleven]
- There’s a big Darwin meeting going on in Chicago this weekend with concurrent science and HPS sessions. [Meanwhile in Chicago ...]
- On June 21st 1992 I saw Nirvana at the Point Depot in Dublin (with the Breeders & Teenage Fanclub). [In Bloom]
Creationism, carnivores, history of science and grunge.
Last week I reported that AZ Game and Fish had recently captured, collared and released a jaguar for the first time. At that time, folks were speculating whether the specimen was “Macho B,” a male that had been seen in the area a number of times over the past 13 years. This turns out to be the case.
This evening the Arizona Republic is reporting that “Macho B” was found to be immobile in the field today and upon transport to the Phoenix Zoo was diagnosed with “severe and unrecoverable kidney failure.” He was therefore euthanized.
It is now believed that the 16 year old male was the oldest wild jaguar in the world.
I’ve written before about efforts to study jaguar (Panthera onca) populations here in the desert southwest and Mexico, most recently to note that the Bush administration had declined to formulate a recovery plan for the species in the Southwest. The following is therefore encouraging for those of us who care about these magnificent animals.
Three days ago, Arizona Game and Fish successfully captured and collared a wild jaguar for the first time in Arizona – a male (picture above) found just southwest of Tucson. The 118 pound specimen (perhaps “Macho B” who has been captured on camera a number of times over the past 13 years) was serendipitously trapped during a study of mountain lions and black bears and the radio collar is already returning important data. This is most exciting as relatively little is known about the species in the most northern part of its range.
For more information on efforts to study these magnificent carnivores in Arizona and northern Mexico, see the Northern Jaguar Project and the Borderlands Jaguar Detection Project. The latter project is funded in part by the Heritage Fund (i.e. through sales of Arizona lottery tickets) and Indian gaming revenue, while the NJP accepts donations from the public.
Update: Fixed the link for NJP donations … my error, sorry.