They had to kill the jaguar to save the jaguar

USFWS and Arizona Game and Fish in a sloppy screw-up?

An interesting article today in Demarcated Landscapes.

Update. Jaguar may have experienced ‘capture myopathy’. Necropsy by zoo inconclusive, two outside vets say. By Tim Steller. Arizona Daily Star

Update 4/2. I baited jaguar trap, research worker says. Attorney general opens investigation into capture. Biologist denies telling worker to use scat to lure cat.  State claimed Macho B’s capture was inadvertent. By Tony Davis and Tim Steller. Arizona Daily Star.

Update 4/2. Grijalva calls for federal investigation of jaguar’s death. B. POOLE and RYN GARGULINSKI. Tucson Citizen





  1. Chris H Avatar
    Chris H

    I wonder if it would not have been possible to do a thorough autopsy while still preserving a goodpart of the pelt?

  2. Salle Avatar

    I read the article and numerous comments below it. What I found most interesting is that the AZ F&G is viewed as incompetent as the F&G in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho!! Go figure. Perhaps there is a need for shutting down all state run F&G agencies and start over with a more realistic set of values for them to operate within. And I do mean that this is a serious consideration that needs more attention.

    The whole basic logic for these agencies is so 19th century and gives no heed to scientific findings over the past 100+ years… Time to get it straight and include what we now know about the biosphere!

  3. Jeff N. Avatar
    Jeff N.

    Like most western states AZ Fish and Game is driven by hook and bullet policies. There was a firestorm over an appt. to the AZF&G board during Gov. Napolitano’s tenure because her appointee wasn’t a hunter and a “female” (the concern over the appointee being a female is my speculation but this state has a “cowboy politics” mentality…surprise…surprise).

  4. Salle Avatar

    Not surprising at all. Having worked in a male dominated field for a decade and a half, I found that not only is it a “sin” to be female, it is also a “sin” to have confidence in yourself, your thoughts, actions and accomplishments while being female as well. If you should be so “uppity” as to carry yourself in such a confident posture, you are subject to the usual suspect claims from males who are threatened by women with brains like insinuations of prostitution and whatever else they think will be a discrediting factor amongst their peers… and most certainly to the degree that you are shunned at all possible opportunities like in getting jobs or advancement beyond secretary/coffee maker and are kept in a subservient role because you have sinned against male domination and made some of them feel inadequate. Or just because you are female in the first place, even when you can do the job better than they ever did or cared to do.

    I’m not saying all men have this insane belief system but there sure are too many of them in this country and it’s about time they figured out that they are a minority that should just fade away. Especially in “cowboy territory”.

  5. Brian Ertz Avatar

    Livestock local politicians = Livestock mentality appointments to F&G departments . That mentality of ag production/cultivation/control/”management” runs through. Non-consumptive “use” and people get the back seat of the bus. AZ’s open-range laws are notoriously antiquated as well. The Livestock stranglehold over state politics needs to be broken, and I do mean broken (as opposed to “collaborated with”) in so many western states. Somebody should speak with Daniel Patterson about this Jaguar thing, he got elected last season.

  6. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    Brian you have hit the nail on the head.

  7. Larry Thorngren Avatar

    The Fish and Game departments treat their state game animals as if they were running a game farm. They over manage to try to let hunters kill as many animals each hunting season as they possibly can. Wildlife watchers and photographers are constantly told to not bother the game animals because if they die, they will not be available for a hunter to shoot in the fall.
    Reintroducing wolves really upsets the agricultural mind set of state game managers. They see each elk killed by a wolf as one less elk tag they can sell to hunters.
    The same mind set infects biologists in our national parks. They see the park wild life as research opportunities and go crazy with radio collars and tags as if they were running a research game farm also. They see the animals as objects to number and count and write graduate papers about, rather than as living things that should be wild and free. There are many animals killed by darting and drugging besides Macho B while putting radio collars on them.
    Here in Idaho, State Senator “Sheepman” Siddoway shot down the IDFG departments request for a license fee increase. The department ought to see that the livestock industry, they so often support, is not on their side.

  8. Salle Avatar

    Larry T,

    Very good points but when the F&G guys are the livestock industry, it really doesn’t matter. Any wildlife that is inconvenient for livestock operators is not valued so they are expendable, except when they are “protected” by law, then the industry gets its “victimhood” game going and there is no end to the lying and whining until they get their way. Everyone else is wrong because they just can’t “see” the romantic farce that they perpetuate and making sure that one of their own is in a high place in government and in the F&G agencies is just part of the process to make sure they aren’t challenged.

    Anyone who might challenge this long domination of resources is quickly discredited by any means, usually some sophomoric method is employed due to lack of sophistication ~ like those I mentioned earlier, just for example.

    The now defrocked senator Craig from Idaho was one of the facilitators of this culture and is probably encouraging some of the crap that is being spewed from legislative committees of late. He was one of the first to insist that the federal government should reimburse the state for the “domestic wildlife” (elk) that wolves eat because of lost revenue for hunting tags. Many of the congressional folks come from these industrial families, logging, mining, livestock producers…

    So you see, even the members of congress are among those who are lost in another century when it comes to current events in the world of wildlife and habitat, the foot soldiers of this misguided mentality are the F&G guys who were probably friends of friends of the legislators. Nepotism of a sort. I wonder how that can ever be changed.

    The romanticized fiction of the western rancher is no more real than the “good old days” in the early half of the last century were “good” for everyone, especially people of color. So if they can look at reality and see it for what it is, things could be different in these issues. You can lead a mind to knowledge but you can’t make it think.

  9. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    Very good comment! Idaho and Fish Game and Senator game farmer Siddoway are competitors — kind of like rival bears. Idaho Fish and Game and stockgrowers in general are competitors — they compete for forage for their animals.

    I wish the public would figure this out.

  10. Rick Hammel Avatar
    Rick Hammel

    I just got a report from Center for Biological Diversity. It stated the jaguar’s kidney were in fine shape for a cat 15 years old. Someone is going to have swing for this one!


  11. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    Larry I think almost every fish and game treats their animals like it is a game farm. Case in point, Alaska.

    The romanticized fiction of the western rancher is no more real than the “good old days” in the early half of the last century were “good” for everyone, especially people of color. So if they can look at reality and see it for what it is, things could be different in these issues. You can lead a mind to knowledge but you can’t make it think.

    Well stated Salle.

  12. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Western livestock interests would most happy it they could turn the West into land as tame as a fenced pasture in central Ohio.

    It is amazing that the mythology of them representing the Wild West got established and spread.

  13. Brian Ertz Avatar

    this year i attended the Idaho Cattlemen Association’s annual shindig and sat there during a platform meeting while a deputy director for IDFG all but licked the boots of the Cattlemen – explicitly asking/lobbying for their support in the statehouse for the fee increase proposal on out of state tags during a conversation about alternative funding mechanisms for Wildlife Services to keep them slaughtering wolves on behalf of the Livestock industry.

    The IDFG literally, and in an official capacity, lobbied the Cattlemen for political support in the statehouse. You may remember Dave Parrish losing his job as a regional director at IDFG when confronting the China Mountain Wind Farm — that wind farm is a cash-cow for rancher & state senator Bert Brackette’s son, who owns private land on Brown’s Bench (subject to purcha$e for the wind farm). Parish had also gotten into trouble with Brackett in the past for mentioning the degradation of game habitat that Brackett’s cattle were inflicting on an allotment – in Jarbidge I believe.

    it’s also interesting the Siddoway shot down the fee increase – the Cattlemen seemed to be supportive of the fee increase, as the reading between the lines was such that those dollars for the Access Yes ! program budget (or those dollars they displaced) might find their way into wolf control efforts. Sounds like Jim Unsworth didn’t lick the right (or didn’t have time to get to the Woolgrower’s as well) boots.

  14. outsider Avatar

    Brian, I’m just courious, did you registure for this shindig or just crash it? I hope that you were honest enough to registure as I don’t think I would appricate it if cowboys crashed my private meetings.

    I also don’t see how we can really complain about what Mr. Bracketts son does with his private lands, after all they are his to do with as he likes, right? Or maybe we should buy them ourselves and do what we would like with them?

    I’m also very gald to have someone as political savey as you to “read” between the lines and explain idaho politics to us, thank you.

  15. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    I think one reason why the economy is in the ditch is because selfish private interests have been coddled too much in this country and whistleblowers like Parrish have been silenced.

    Now we all have to pay with our jobs, savings, health, in short, maybe with our lives.

  16. Brian Ertz Avatar


    i registered and paid in full, they hold it in Sun Valley and the event is open to the public. nice venue – i was the guy with the latte.

    I don’t care whether you think we can complain or not – the fact is, an IDFG employee lost his job for speaking up about the fact that a potential development on public lands would negatively impact wildlife. That happened after a local politician whose family had financial interest in the project in question (having a private parcel within the public land to be developed and necessarily acquired should the project take place) made his displeasure with the IDFG employee known to the governor. Parrish was speaking of the public land impact. That’s a crooked situation.

    outsider – do you know the landscape that i’m speaking of ? or are you just crashing/casting judgement on my characterization of it without any idea ?

  17. Tilly Avatar

    More than a rival bear, the IDFG seems like a battered spouse who can’t leave. It’s only the ranchers and Senators who ever lash out at IDFG- IDFG just takes it and keeps coming back.

  18. outsider Avatar

    Ralph, I’m not completley sure but I think the main reason that we are in this mess is people who had no business owning houses were alowed to buy them due to policies put in place during the clintion years and continued during B 2s years.

    Brian, I could be wronge but I don’t think Mr. Parish lost his job he was just reasigned, yes I know thats the same as being fried but he did have another job in boise if he wanted to take it.

    I also I’m still surpiresed at the negativity that is put forth on this blog about a green power source, ie wind power, its not like they are going to build a coal plant or maybe that would more appealing to some of you here.

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      It is important that “green power” actually be green. Because the way an energy industry begins strongly influences its future for many years, getting it right at the start is of critical importance. Although it is a rather academic book, you might want to read “Energy Politics,” by David Howard Davis (Wadsworth Publishing)

  19. Ken Cole Avatar

    It appears that you don’t know what you’re talking about.

    The wind farm is proposed to be built in some of the last remaining good sage grouse habitat.

    There are other, much better places ecologically to build wind farms. China Mountain is not one of those places.

  20. outsider Avatar

    Ken so what makes its so special? Are you saying that the private lands in that area are indeed valuable and not destroyed. Hasn’t livestock grazing destroyed this area and all other areas in the west? I’m kinda confused here, haven’t livestock been grazing that area for well over 125 years? If so how can be it be in such prime shape after all those years of abuse and degredation?

  21. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Please note the news update on this story. I put it in the main body of the post above.

  22. Ron Kearns Avatar
    Ron Kearns


    I baited jaguar trap, research worker says

    Attorney general opens investigation into capture | Biologist denies telling worker to use scat to lure cat | State claimed Macho B’s capture was inadvertent.

    State agrees to investigate new information about jaguar’s capture

    Thanks, Ron! I moved this to the body of the post. RM

  23. Ron Kearns Avatar
    Ron Kearns

    Published: 05.24.2009

    Permit for jaguar’s capture questioned

    Documents and e-mails suggest state may have lacked authority to take cat

    By Tony Davis and Tim Steller


    Arizona’s Game and Fish Department may have lacked the proper permit to capture a jaguar when Macho B stepped into a snare trap in Southern Arizona’s oak woodlands last February.


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Ralph Maughan