Federal Criminal Investigation begins of Death of Last Known Jaguar in U.S.





  1. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    I am glad to hear this is being investigated, so we that have worked for agencies can find out what happened, and hopefully it will expose the trickle down effect in these agencies when your pressured to do something, and it happens ALL the time, this I can tell you from first hand experience!

  2. jerry b Avatar
    jerry b

    Save Bears…
    As you may already know, I’ve been challenging MFWP concerning various wildlife management issues ranging from wolves to wolverines, fishers etc. There appears to be a point at which “scientific” research is stonewalled in decision making.
    Non agency researchers are reluctant to release valuable information because if it contradicts agency policy, their funding is in jeopardy….and I could go on and on about this.
    I’d like to exchange emails with you and phone #’s to discuss this if you’d be willing. Ralph has my email and has my permission to release it to you.

  3. Indamani Avatar

    I hope they do a thorough investigation. It’s so disheartening to realise what a corrupt world we live in.

  4. kt Avatar

    This is something that seems strange – Maybe I had missed it in earlier accounts: Emil McCain was an Consultant. Isn’t it odd for a State Game agency to use a consultant? They usually hire “Temporaries”.

    I Googled McCain – found references to some graduate jaguar studies. When you read the accounts and quotes from him in the Arizona papers, he sounds mean, sexist and less than polished.

    What standards, if any, are “Consultants” for a State Game Department held to? What does his Contract say?

  5. Demarcated Landscapes Avatar

    Hi KT,

    We think that McCain is being listed as a “consultant” because he was not employed by AZGFD. He works for Borderlands Jaguar Detection Project last we heard, getting by on independent research grants, and doing camera “trapping.” Our guess is that McCain, Brun, and the unnamed GF employee were just out running traps together.

    It’s curious that they aren’t naming or talking to the Game and Fish biologist though- seems like if s/he could say that Brun is not telling the truth about this, GF would have him/her out in front of the cameras.

  6. Demarcated Landscapes Avatar

    Well, KT, Sorry! You’re right- we just re-read it… That is odd. “McCain, the biologist working as a consultant for the department.” Maybe there was some soft money from the agency? Anyway, like we said above, we’re just guessing. Guess we’ll stop guessing now! The whole sad story will come out eventually.

  7. kt Avatar

    It almost seems like there was real Obsession here. The ultimate prize was to catch the jaguar. To know its every move. To enhance one’s own sense of power/control. It will be very interesting to see what other twists this story takes.

    You finally shoot your quarry, the wolf. The Green Fire in its eyes dies. You are left with Nothing but remorse.

  8. Jimbob Avatar

    Anybody have any info about this…? Every other news article I’ve read has said that there are as many as 3 more jaguar individuals in the US. Was he the last? Or wasn’t he?

  9. Larry Thorngren Avatar

    I will bet that there are more photos we haven’t seen with this guy holding up the drugged jaguar while posing with it for a photo op. Every time I pick up a book or report on wolves in Yellowstone National Park bookstores, there is a photo of the researchers posing with their drugged wolves like they had just shot a trophy.

  10. Ryan Avatar

    Larry, I guess they shouldn’t be proud of what they do should they?

  11. Layton Avatar

    “You finally shoot your quarry, the wolf. The Green Fire in its eyes dies. You are left with Nothing but remorse.”

    Uhhh, KT — you forgot to note that Aldo Leopold said that — or did you not want that noted??

  12. Craig Avatar

    jerry b Says:
    April 5, 2009 at 12:23 PM
    As you may already know, I’ve been challenging MFWP concerning various wildlife management issues ranging from wolves to wolverines, fishers etc.

    jerry what have you done? I’d be very intrested in this as I too follow the studies of Wolverines through the Wolverine foundation and such! I Know Clint Long who runs the Wolverine Foundation, my father worked for him for 28+ years and I follow all of Jeff Copland and Audrey Magouns studies.

  13. kt Avatar

    It looks like McCain had a history of “pushing boundaries”.


    Back then, he had ostensibly set up to get mountain lion photos … [but really was after the jaguar shots]. MIGHT collaring Macho B have helped him to be able to get REALLY good shots, one wonders?

  14. kt Avatar

    In case the link does not work, here is the agency article:

    Press Releases: Emil’s Shots Capture Jaguar Spots

    Photo of jaguar, taken at night When Emil McCain saw the black spots across the middle of his photographs, he was thrilled – because they blanketed the coats of elusive jaguars.

    The four photographs were literally shots in the dark, taken in the middle of the night by remote cameras stationed in the Arizona desert near the Mexican border. Their shutters and flashes were triggered by heat-in-motion sensors, similar to an automatic light switch. McCain, meanwhile, was back at Humboldt State University, where he is a wildlife graduate student.

    McCain had set the cameras up earlier this year ostensibly to support his master’s thesis on mountain lion activity in the area. But his focus was really on jaguars, a much larger, more elusive and, in the Southwest, almost exclusively nocturnal cat. For more about jaguars, see this sidebar. Particularly, he sought evidence they may be returning to the region, an area from which they had long been extirpated.

    The four photos each show a jaguar heading away from the lens. From a close comparison of the patterns of spots, two significant pictures emerge, McCain said. One of his photos captured the same jaguar that had been photographed by Arizona houndsman Jack Childs in 2001, indicating that the cat is likely a resident of the area rather than just passing through from Northern Mexico as had been thought. The other photos indicate at least one other jaguar, and possibly two, in the area. This could indicate a population, albeit a small one, resides there.

    Photo of HSU Wildlife Professor T. Luke George and Emil McCain According to McCain’s major advisor, HSU wildlife Professor T. Luke George, “Those two points are really huge.”

    Prior to McCain’s images, only four photos of jaguars in the wild, all shot in the last 10 years, had been taken in the United States since the large predators were extirpated from the country in the mid-1900s, George said. In 1996, two were spotted by eyewitnesses, one by a hunter in New Mexico and one by Childs in Arizona, according to Arizona’s Game and Fish Department.

    Bill Van Pelt, head of AGF’s Nongame Program, said, “The new pictures mark a milestone.”

    While McCain’s cameras, chained to trees and safely housed in waterproof boxes, snapped their shots of spots, he was taking classes a thousand miles away. But when he saw the images he knew immediately they were jaguars. Indeed, while in the field in June, he spotted definitive tracks. He had also seen them first-hand in the jungles of Costa Rica and in rugged mountains of Mexico.

    Photo of Emil McCain tracking Growing up as an only child on a Colorado ranch that bordered wilderness, McCain spent his childhood hiking and tracking, and he figures he saw his first mountain lion when he was 10 years old. His academic advisor George calls him “one of those people born 150 years too late.”

    “Emil has skills at tracking that few people in the world have,” said George. “It’s an intuition that helped him get those photos; they’re not a fluke. He pushed the (proverbial) boundary to get into inaccessible areas and had a good sense of how jaguars travel.”

    The main reason McCain’s master’s thesis focuses on mountain lions is because, as George put it, “You’re not going to get enough data on jaguars in that area.” But, with film and batteries provided by Arizona Game and Fish, McCain placed his 20 cameras with jaguars pretty much in mind, and in his heart.

    To McCain, the sight of tracks inspires awe, let alone — and you’d better — the sight of an actual jaguar.

    “There’s a sense of not being the top dog anymore when you know there’s a jaguar around,’ he said. “They’re a very powerful animal and their presence (even if unseen) is overwhelming.”

  15. swjags Avatar

    “The greater accessibility of information through computers and the Internet serves to foster the illusion that the ability to retrieve words and numbers with the click of a mouse also confers the capacity to judge whether those words and numbers represent truth, lies, or something in between.” Susan Jacoby, The Age of American Unreason

  16. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears


    you are more than welcome to contact me, Ralph you can give my contact email to Jerry, that is not a problem..

  17. Jeff N. Avatar
    Jeff N.

    Hey Layton ,

    When the hell are you going to make a valid point? I’ve been reading and responding to this post for years, as have you. Besides calling people hypocrites etc…when are you going to offer something with substance, besides the BS you regularlily post about how the wolves are destroying the elk herd in ID. You assume to be an outdoorsman and have probably had many experiences with predators in the wild. I’d like to here the stories about your encounters and how perilous they must have been….all these sharp toothed critters waiting to pounce on the hapless around every bend and boulder.

  18. Jeff N. Avatar
    Jeff N.

    My above post is extremely off topic in regard to this thread but after Layton accused KT of plagarism I figured what the hell.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan