Whistling for the Jaguar

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

Jag Collar

“We should have our GPS collar in hand soon. Looking forward to attaching it to some lucky jaguar.” Email from Jack Childs (BJDP) to Bill Van Pelt and another AZGFD employee whose name is redacted on 1-31-08. The day before McCain had emailed Van Pelt and the same redacted AZGFD employee inquiring what the new AZGFD Director’s (Larry Voyles) “temp was on collaring a jag.”

In September 2007, Blake Henke, managing partner of North Star Science and Technology, saw McCain’s presentation on BJDP at a Wildlife Society meeting in Tucson, AZ. In the meeting McCain stated he wanted to radio collar a jaguar named Macho B. Henke met McCain after his presentation and offered to donate a GPS radio collar to the cause including tracking software, airtime for the collar, and access to the technicians at North Star. McCain accepted his generous offer.

When McCain joined the AZGFD lion and bear snaring project he brought the donated jaguar collar with him.

During the three month hiatus in the snaring project McCain emailed Henke about getting a software upgrade for the jaguar collar and included info on a recently collared female lion for the AZGFD project. The lion was wearing a North Star collar (AZGFD was a client) and McCain stated “Now we need to do it with a jaguar.”

On 12-18-08 McCain emailed Henke, “here is the latest shot of that AZ jag I want to put it (the collar) on.”

On 1-11-09 McCain thanked Henke for installing a VHF radio frequency on the collar; “Thanks a million. Now all it (sic) gotta do is catch that cat!”

On 2-13-09 McCain sent Henke another email thanking him for sending the collar back so fast and “I also wanted you to know that we have again started trapping and that there is fresh jaguar sign in the area.”

In an email chain from Feb. 14-16. McCain wrote to Henke and his AZGFD co-worker Smith, “at this point I think that for the week long trapping periods in the area where we may capture a jag, I think we should leave that collar on…especially given…the once in a lifetime chance to collar a AZ jag. I think it is prudent to be 100% sure the collar is on.”

On 2-18-09 McCain emails Henke in regard to Macho B, “I sure hope that we can get that collar on that guy. I assure you we will do our best.”

And in an email chain from Feb.20-23 McCain writes to Henke, ” Now that collar is really working! It is on the animal!”

After Macho B was euthanized the collar was returned to McCain. He, in turn, took it with him to the Yucatan two months later for a jaguar project his snaring “boss” Ron Thompson was involved with. Macho B’s collar was attached to a late addition to the project, a young female jaguar. She was apparently drugged three times in a twenty-four hour period before her release; first for dental surgery, second after escaping her enclosure after surgery, and three, for her release in front of media into a place where she had never been (a hard release) that already had a stable population of jaguars (See blog roll for Peter Emily Foundation and AZ Daily Star articles about project. The second jag mentioned was killed months later by locals). McCain and others from the field team found the young jaguar, dead, ten days after her release without a noticeable mark on her. They left her as she lay minus Macho B’s collar.

Below is Macho B with the donated collar at his capture site.

Macho B


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2 thoughts on “Jag Collar

  1. Thanks for sharing this nitty-gritty, Janay. I don’t wonder that you weren’t ready ‘to make nice.’

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