Whistling for the Jaguar

The un-redacted story of the jaguar, Macho B's snaring and death.

Draft for Authorization

AZGFD Director, Larry Voyles, lamented to the USFWS special agents after Macho B’s collaring and death, “it was troubling that the AZGFD was aware of a jaguar presence in the same mountain range where AZGFD was trapping for lions and bears and that it was not reported up the chain of command.”

Actually, it was. On December 4, 2008 Endangered Species Coordinator, Terry Johnson, “talked to him (Voyles) about the locational information for Macho B.” They also discussed the possibility of Macho B being snared during the course of the lion and bear study because of his recent detections in the vicinity of the snares. Johnson had stated that at this meeting, both men concurred that Macho B was not a viable candidate for capture because of his old age. And yet, on this same day Johnson drafted an authorization memo to capture and collar a jaguar. The email titled, “Approval to capture and radio-collar a jaguar in Arizona,” was sent from Director Voyles to Johnson and included the decision to authorize capturing a jaguar in Arizona and placing a radio-collar on it. The email references the snaring project and the fact that jaguars have been documented in the snaring area (“as recently as August 2008”). And states that “inadvertent capture of a jaguar in a lion set (e.g.snare) is a reasonable possibility.”  The conversation about possibly capturing Macho B and the drafting of the authorization to capture and collar a jaguar took place two and a half months before Macho B was snared by AZGFD. According to Voyles, “he felt there was also not a directive requiring the project stopped if there was ever any knowledge of a jaguar presence in the area.” Well, why not? He and Johnson had every opportunity for two and a half months to get in touch with the snaring field team and/or their supervisors to halt the snaring in Macho B’s territory and move the snares to a new location (Bristow had picked several other mountain ranges as snaring possibilities, several of which a jaguar had not been documented in decades, if ever). If Macho B truly was not a target of the AZGFD why did Voyles and Johnson do nothing about the possibility of snaring Macho B? Instead, they rolled the dice until they landed at Johnson’s feet several months later in the form of Jack Childs declaring, “We did it! Got a collar on Macho B.”

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