A new wildlife whistleblower website, Wild Leaks allows people to confidentially, securely, and anonymously share information. This was what I had in mind when I wrote my last post, Five Years. I am so happy and thankful that this option and venue now exists in the world. If you have any information that would be helpful in exposing and preventing wildlife and wild land crimes please consider contacting them.
Thanks to Cynthia for bringing Wild Leaks to my attention!
Because of Macho B we have the knowledge of what jaguar “conservation” truly means in Arizona and thus, the U.S. Because of him,
We can protect him,
It is past time to get AZGFD out of endangered carnivore “conservation.” It is time to shatter the incestuous world of wildlife conservation in Arizona. It is way past time to hold AZGFD and USFWS accountable for all they have not done to protect jaguars and other species (mainly carnivores) and all they did to contribute to Macho B’s snaring and death. If you have an idea on how to accomplish these goals please contact me (email@example.com) or please contact whomever to get the ball rolling. If you have information on how these agencies failed to protect any species and/or may have been complicit in their injury or death please speak out; either here or somewhere. It is time to act. Will you join me?
I have finally finished the first draft of my book, Cloak and Jaguar. I am in the process of putting together a proposal to send to agents and publishers as I begin the search for support and a home for my manuscript. It is just the beginning of a probable long journey of rejections, re-writes, edits, and “killing my darlings.”
Here is a preview, Cloak & Jaguar
Thanks goes to Dexter Oliver for his edits.
I received an email from Ron Thompson recently and have embedded it below in this post. Thompson was McCain’s supervisor/confidante/mentor on the AZGFD lion and bear snaring project and is currently employed on the tax payer funded University of Arizona jaguar study.
His message was just too bizarre so I had to share it.
My plan with this blog was to post all the information from the criminal investigation into Macho B’s capture and death that I legally could. I have accomplished that. Unless another intentionally suppressed document emerges from the depths of the AZGFD and/or USFWS or McCain invents another version of “But, I was THE victim!” in an inane attempt to gain back a tidbit of whatever credibility he had I probably will not post again. I left out the personal part of the story in this blog (mostly) so it focused solely on what was uncovered by the USFWS Special Agents during their investigation. I’ll get to the personal in my book. And speaking of personal, that is how I would like to end this blog.
First, regarding whistleblowers. If there are any future whistleblowers reading this blog please check out: http://www.whistleblower.org (link also under blogroll) for helpful information and advice before you come forward. Speaking the truth is not always perceived as the respectful, decent, moral, or right thing to do. As a whistleblower be prepared for the emotional, physical, and mental stress that will occupy your daily life. Know that the moment you blow the whistle, life as you know it will die. Be prepared for the strain on not just yourself, but also family, loved ones, and friends. Recognize that some of these relationships may not make it through the strain. Be financially prepared; if you are not fired ( I was) then you will be isolated to the point of wishing you were fired or demoted. Hire a lawyer before you utter one word. I didn’t hire a lawyer until I was charged and by then it was too late. The idea is self preservation and protection. The people whom you are blowing the whistle on will come at you with everything they have, fabricate even more, and attempt to turn you into the “bad” person and themselves into the victim. Be aware of whistleblower laws and protections, each state is different. Know that if you end up in the federal judicial system the Obama administration has been the hardest on whistleblowers in recent U.S. history, if not its whole. Adjust your expectations in the value of truth and justice. The truth is often inconvenient in whistleblower cases and the opposition will try to suppress, manipulate, and delete it. Justice is rarely found in the legal system. In my case it was absent.
It is unforgivable that whistleblowers are consistently retaliated against while those that remain quiet and uphold the status quo do so out of fear of said retaliation and those that are intentionally breaking the law and/or are endangering other lives, something or someone seem to persist in the shadows unscathed.
Macho B was an individual jaguar that lived and thrived in a vast and diverse ecosystem that spanned from southern Arizona into, in all probability, northern Mexico. He was not a symbol for open borders, wilderness designation, wild places, conservation, an organization, agency, or an open mine pit-free landscape. He was just a jaguar trying to survive in the world. If anything can be deemed symbolic of his life, it is the end of it. His snaring and death are symbolic and indicative of all that is wrong in wildlife conservation. If you see a jaguar in the wild please thank the stars, luck, the universe, God, or better yet, the jaguar and appreciate the moment. But, PLEASE do not call AZGFD, USFWS, or the University of AZ jaguar project to report the presence of the jaguar; they will end up endangering the animal, if not killing him or her.
Several prominent biologists have stated that Macho B’s existence, or any other jaguars’ in southern AZ or New Mexico are not significant to the jaguar species as a whole. That argument has always seemed odd and callous to me as it comes from biologists whom supposedly want to conserve the species, Panthera Onca and are interested and invested in the lives of jaguars, yet they cherry pick which individuals of the species are important based on geography and funding. Macho B was important; he was a life, an endangered life by legal definition and his death was significant to the survival of his species. Because, if an individual jaguar’s life cannot be respected then how can the lives of the species be as a whole?
We owe respect to the living. To the dead we owe only truth. Voltaire
Though I have seen the whole, un-redacted investigation file of Macho B’s case, legally I could only report on this blog what was included in my redacted Freedom of Information Act request. I had requested the whole investigation file and I received pretty much all of it. This blog is by no means the entire story and I am doubtful the full version will ever be known. Close to 98% of what is on this blog I discovered as a defendant in this case preparing for trial.
Just this past December I learned through the AZ Republic’s series on Macho B about a document that originated with USFWS “Jaguar Lead,” Erin Fernandez and was re-drafted by AZGFD’s Endangered Species Coordinator, Terry Johnson just 16 days before Macho B was captured. This document was a “draft” shared between USFWS and AZGFD that outlined a financial plan to capture and collar a jaguar with Macho B cited as the likely candidate. The “draft” was completed in time for a March 2009 deadline to submit proposals to the Department of Homeland Security for a chance at acquiring part of the $50 million mitigation funding or “pot of gold” as many AZGFD officials referred to it. This document was never turned over or talked about to the USFWS Special Agents in charge of the Macho B investigation and therefore, neither my attorney or I knew it existed. I believe this document could have been beneficial in a Motion to Dismiss that was submitted by my attorney so I am currently looking into any legal recourse I may have for AZGFD and USFWS suppressing evidence in a federal criminal investigation. And because of this suppressed document I seriously have to question how many other documents were suppressed and what else did the USFWS Special Agents fail to discover and investigate.
Currently, Emil McCain is claiming victimhood in the Macho B case while at the same time admitting to whoring out the truth and federal laws in exchange for being wined and dined and promised future employment by former AZGFD biologist and current University of Arizona jaguar researcher, Ron Thompson (see AZ Republic series, parts 1-3 under blogroll). When McCain directed me to place jaguar scat at the BJDP cameras and near the AZGFD snare on February 4, 2009 I believed he was a legit researcher whom had permission from AZGFD, USFWS, & BJDP to attempt to capture and collar Macho B. After Macho B was collared and McCain and Childs did not correct AZGFD’s statements that Macho B’s capture was “accidental” I became suspicious. Then after I contacted Tony Davis of the AZ Daily Star to tell him Macho B’s capture was definitely not accidental and McCain’s reaction was to attack and defame my character with his words supplemented by a script his father provided, I thought I had been duped by someone I trusted. It was at this point I considered him to be some evil, master-mind. When I read the discovery of my case while preparing for trial it became clear that McCain had intent to capture and collar Macho B all on his own and this intent was encouraged and fostered directly by Thompson (AZGFD), Johnson (AZGFD), Smith (AZGFD), Childs (BJDP), and indirectly by Van Pelt (AZGFD), O’Brien (AZGFD) and Fernandez (USFWS). Now, I just view McCain as a sociopath; adamant about taking zero responsibility for his actions (he has a history of breaking laws, maiming and killing jaguars) and even incapable of viewing any wrongdoing he has done as wrong. He always chooses the victim card as his defense and his new version of that is curious as he waited years to shift blame from me as a liar to Ron Thompson as his pimp. Since he suspiciously leaves Childs out of the equation I am wondering if Childs is still of some use to McCain? Perhaps Childs is dusting off a seat at the “jaguar conservation” table for McCain when his probation is over in two years?
To date, AZGFD has not been held accountable for violating the Endangered Species Act by illegally capturing Macho B during the course of an illegal lion and bear research project which had not been properly vetted and was done without the correct permits and without authorization from the USFWS. AZGFD has also not been held accountable for allowing their sub-contractor, Emil McCain to dictate when a visual health assessment would occur after Macho B was captured and had not moved for days. AZGFD deferred to McCain though he had no knowledge or experience in monitoring a jaguar, was not a vet, and constantly referenced mountain lion behavior to define Macho B’s behavior, though Macho B was obviously a jaguar. So because of McCain’s ineptitude and inexperience Macho B wasted away for twelve days and by the time someone with actual vet experience got to him he was diagnosed with irreversible kidney failure and killed. AZGFD has also not been held accountable for high-risk snaring protocols. Snares were only checked once a day, in the morning. Snares were placed in active human and drug smuggling corridors putting captive animals and perhaps humans at risk. Snares were activated during a time of year when it can snow one day and be seventy plus degrees and sunny the next, thus risking hypo and hyperthermia (Macho B was hypothermic) to the captive animals. The area was also inhabited by diverse species and any animal held captive in a snare could have been attacked by another animal as possibly evidenced by the javelina tooth found embedded in Macho B’s tail. And then the actual personnel and handling protocols for a jaguar capture went beyond negligent. Smith and Crabb had no vet experience, barely any wild cat experience, they didn’t even have the presence of mind to clean the dart wound on Macho B’s leg though Smith pulled the tranquilizer dart out himself. This same general area on Macho B’s leg is where the subcutaneous emphysema was located during the necropsy and was cited as one of the factors contributing to the decision to euthanize him. And AZGFD obviously has not been held accountable for lying to the public about their agency’s role in Macho B’s capture and health decline just like none of their personnel were ever charged or prosecuted for their roles despite the evidence.
USFWS still has “Jaguar Lead” Erin Fernandez in their employ and she continues to be involved in jaguar work despite her own agency recommending her for prosecution in the Macho B case. USFWS continues to be a partner with AZGFD in jaguar conservation allowing AZGFD to remain a lead agency in the “effort.” USFWS also covered for AZGFD when it became abundantly clear that AZGFD did not have the right permits to capture Macho B, no matter what the circumstances, and amended AZGFD’s permits for them a year after Macho B’s death to include pages of language authorizing AZGFD to capture and collar a jaguar. And as evidenced in this blog, the USFWS Special Agents in charge of the Macho B investigation didn’t exactly do a thorough or aggressive job.
Next are the empty words of AZ Congressman Grijalva. He requested USFWS lead in the investigation and then this past December when he got an inkling of the negligence and cover-up that occurred in Macho B’s case he said something about learning more about “prosecutorial decisions and the continuing role of key government officials in federal jaguar studies.” I first contacted his office 64 days ago to inquire if he really would follow-up on these issues but his office has never returned my calls or emails.
And then there is the former AZ U.S. Attorney, Dennis Burke. No one can question him as to why he chose not to prosecute any government officials in the Macho B case because he had to retire after his role in Operation Fast and Furious (AZ US Attorney and ATF joint gun smuggling/walking operation. A gun from this ridiculously negligent operation turned up at the murder scene of a U.S. Border Patrol agent, Brian Terry.) was made public.
One couldn’t dream of a more convoluted, corrupt, disturbing, sad and twisted tale surrounding the capture and death of an endangered species. If the government agencies, including legal ones, entrusted with conserving endangered species and enforcing endangered species law can get it so wrong with the most endangered species to reside in the U.S. just consider how bad it is for an endangered bug, plant, bird, or just about any other species living in the ecosystems that make up the U.S.
Since coming forward as the whistleblower in the Macho B case almost four years ago and writing this blog the past year, I have accomplished almost nothing for positive, safe, and respectful change in the way jaguar conservation is conducted in Arizona and the U.S. The only positive to have come out of the whole situation is McCain not being able to work with large mammals in the U.S. for five years, but that equates to bad news for whatever animal he is currently “studying,” wherever that may be.
So I realize I need help, hopefully yours. Please consider taking a moment of time to contact anyone on the list below to ask what is being done to ensure the next jaguar documented in the U.S. does not meet the fate of Macho B. Thank you.
1. AZ Congressman Raul Grijalva: He called for the USFWS to investigate Macho B’s snaring and death. In addition, the Congressman called for the Office of Inspector General to investigate. The OIG reported that AZGFD violated their permits. The OIG report and AZGFD’s responses can be found under the blogroll. From the December 2012 AZ Republic series on Macho B:
Rep. Raúl Grijalva, D-Ariz., who originally requested the criminal investigation, said Monday that his previous attempts to get answers were stymied but that he is determined to learn more about prosecutorial decisions and the continuing role of key officials in federal jaguar studies.
“It’s hard to describe,” Grijalva said. “Not only the tragedy involved, but the attempt to manipulate and cover up.”
And from a December 2012 Center for Biological Diversity article:
WASHINGTON, Dec. 10, 2012 — In a letter sent today, a broad coalition of 238 conservation, Hispanic, recreation, animal welfare, religious, labor, youth, business and women’s groups urged President Barack Obama to nominate Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) as the next interior secretary when that position opens. Grijalva is currently ranking member of the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, and a leading Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee.
Congressman Grijalva not only has a responsibility to ensure the protection and conservation of any jaguar detected in the U.S. he also, apparently, has and may have more power to make that happen.
Tucson office: 520-622-6788
D.C. office: 202-225-2435
Grijalva’s Communications Director: Adam Sarvana: firstname.lastname@example.org
Grijalva’s Environment Consultant: Brandon Bragato: email@example.com
2. Doctor Benjamin Tuggle, Southwest Director of USFWS: RDTuggle@fws.gov
Dr. Tuggle should be asked why Erin Fernandez is still employed by USFWS and why she is still involved in jaguar conservation. In addition, Dr. Tuggle should explain why AZGFD is still one of the lead agencies in jaguar conservation in the U.S. despite violating their endangered species permits with USFWS and the Endangered Species Act when they illegally captured Macho B. Also, Tuggle should be asked why his agency granted the University of AZ $771,000 via the DHS mitigation fund when Ron Thompson and Jack Childs, two people his agency recommended being charged in the Macho B investigation, were involved and since Childs had previously violated his Endangered Species permits with the USFWS as the figurehead of the Borderlands Jaguar Detection Project.
3. Nicholas Chavez, USFWS Special Agent in Charge Southwest Region: 505-248-7889
Mr. Chavez should be asked why all government employee email accounts weren’t seized during the Macho B investigation, as well as, Jack Childs’ and why there wasn’t a more thorough and aggressive investigation into those same people. There was probable cause to thoroughly investigate all government officials, as well as, Childs. Just the information I have provided in this blog, as copied directly from the investigative documents I received in my FOIA request, is enough to charge just about everyone mentioned with conspiracy to take an endangered species, to wit, a jaguar known as Macho B.
4. Larry Voyles, AZGFD Director: firstname.lastname@example.org
Voyles should be asked why former Endangered Species Coordinator Terry Johnson is currently a paid consultant for AZGFD concerning jaguar issues. Also, when does he and his agency plan on apologizing to the public for lying about Macho B’s capture for close to four years? In addition, Voyles should also be asked to remove AZGFD from all jaguar conservation activities since they broke the law illegally capturing Macho B and have demonstrated a disregard for the safety and well-being of the species.
5. Melanie Culver, Principle Investigator for the University of Arizona Jaguar Study: email@example.com
Culver should be asked why, now that their involvement in Macho B’s illegal capture has publicly come into question and been highlighted in the AZ Republic series, Ron Thompson and Jack Childs are still involved in the U of AZ jaguar study?
I still have not received a response from Congressman Grijalva’s office. That equates to 46 days of silence.
Erin Fernandez is still employed as “Jaguar Lead” for the USFWS and involved in the U of AZ jaguar study. Terry Johnson is still a paid AZGFD consultant for jaguar and wolf issues though he failed both species when he was the Endangered Species Coordinator for AZGFD. Jack Childs and Ron Thompson are still with the U of AZ jaguar study and had their co-workers falling over themselves in a recent interview (see blogroll for link) to describe the men’s “knowledge” and “skills” in the wake of Dennis Wagner’s damning series of the Macho B investigation published in the AZ Republic (see blogroll for parts 1-3) which implicates both men in having a definite role in Macho B’s illegal capture. Come to think of it, there was enough evidence from the federal criminal investigation into Macho B’s capture and death which accomplished the same thing.
“We are very pleased about these photos,” said Lisa Haynes, who manages the research project and coordinates the Wild Cat Conservation and Research Center project. “I am proud of our field team and their incredible knowledge and capacity to place these cameras in the best locations to detect jaguar and ocelot movement.”
Culver, who is the project’s principal investigator, said: “What is exciting about this research project is the combination of techniques and skills, from the deep knowledge of our field people of how wild cats move around the landscape to cutting edge molecular-genetic analysis of the scats.
AZGFD is still one of the lead agencies in jaguar conservation in AZ and the U.S. despite violating their Endangered Species permits and the Endangered Species Act. Not to mention that they had inexperienced personnel in the field to capture a jaguar despite knowing it was a possibility, plus their snaring techniques and protocols were unsafe for the animals especially given the location of the snares along human/drug smuggling corridors.
I’m beginning to think that keeping these people/agencies involved in jaguar conservation is someone’s or some agency’s design in order to ensure that the jaguar species has no chance of survival in the U.S.