G&F worker is fired for alleged lying, cover-up in jaguar capture

The investigation of Macho B’s death is ongoing

Macho B after being collared

I saw this story but was too busy to post it when it was published last month. I’m posting it now because I think it is an important story and also because we’ve been covering the saga of Macho B, the last wild jaguar in the US.

He was captured in February of 2009 in Arizona, tranquilized, and given a gps radio collar. Shortly afterwards it was noticed that his movements became limited so he was recaptured and then euthanized. Investigators say that his death was hastened by capture related stress.

There have also been allegations claiming that jaguar scat was placed at the trapping sites in an attempt at capturing him while trapping cougars for an ongoing study. The worker fired by AZGF has said as much.

“One federal agency, the U.S. Interior Department’s Office of Inspector General, concluded earlier this year that the capture by state workers was intentional and that the evidence points to criminal wrongdoing.”

G&F worker is fired for alleged lying, cover-up in jaguar capture
Tony Davis Arizona Daily Star





  1. Ron Kearns Avatar
    Ron Kearns

    Thank you for highlighting the Macho B saga. I made several posts to this story in the Arizona Daily Star (ADS) comment section at the following link. The ADS provides excellent coverage of Arizona-related environmental and U.S./Mexico border issues, including the virtual and physical border fences that are harmful to wildlife, wildlands, and wildernesses.


  2. monty Avatar

    One of the most beautiful creatures in the world. It would be wonderful if there were a viable population in this country!

  3. Ron Kearns Avatar
    Ron Kearns

    New development released today, the 16th:

    Transcripts of Arizona Game and Fish employees interviewed during the Department’s internal Macho B investigation are available for public review


    1. Ken Cole Avatar

      Ron, could you post the image gallery again. It got put into spam and I saw right as I was pushing the delete button. I’ll keep my eyes open for it but that spam filter, which gets some pretty sleazy stuff and is usually very good at its job, got it.

    2. Ron Kearns Avatar
      Ron Kearns

      Macho B Jaguar Photo Gallery (All 304 photos taken during the capture)


      Ken, I posted 2 links in that last post and sometimes that seems to trigger the Spam filter. Thanks.

    3. Ken Cole Avatar

      For some reason the photos won’t open. Their links are bad.

  4. Jay Avatar

    You are in big, big trouble Mr. McCain.

  5. Nature rules Avatar
    Nature rules

    I hope all involved get charged with something, there were laws broken here, and just firing someone is not enough! they should pay fines and do some jail time. and never have a government job or be able to sub contract under one.

  6. WM Avatar

    Interesting statement from the article.

    “Smith may be safe from federal criminal prosecution because he talked to the state, Game and Fish said Friday. The department said it never told federal investigators about Smith’s statements. It also said it believes that because the state required its employee to “provide complete and factual information,” his statements can’t be used against him in a criminal prosecution.”

    I want to know how an admission of illegal conduct (under federal and maybe even state law), can result in immunity from prosecution because it is made in the context of a state investigation of the employee’s conduct. It also looks like the state may be complicit in covering up a crime, IF – and here is the important part- the Solicitor specifically asked the state for all of its material on its investigation – including statements of employees.

    Smith was given a Garrity warning, which is kind of like a Miranda, at the time of the administrtaive interview. He did not have a lawyer present, but could have just not answered certain questions. The odd part is this is a state investingtion, that could result in prosecution for breaking a federal law. If there are admissions of illegal conduct how can they be suppressed? Wonder what the law is on this?

    1. Ron Kearns Avatar
      Ron Kearns


      The Garrity warning v. Federal government lawyers’ legal limitations is an interesting subject. Perhaps we can have a lawyer give us a basic understanding of how such legal ‘conflicts’ might happen in this specific instance.

  7. Ron Kearns Avatar
    Ron Kearns

    I posted several times within the comment section after I read the AGFD transcripts.


    Accounts conflict on how jaguar was trapped

    Story (30) Comments Tony Davis Arizona Daily Star | Posted: Sunday, April 18, 2010 12:00 am |



Ken Cole is a 5th generation Idahoan, an avid fly fisherman, wildlife enthusiast, and photographer. He is the interim Idaho Director for Western Watersheds Project.

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Ken Cole