Whistling for the Jaguar

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

Scent Lures 2

Part Two:

In the summer/fall of 2008 McCain began looking for sources of jaguar scat and urine to use at BJDP camera sites. He first contacted the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Washington on August 29, and again on November 14. He provided them with a written proposal stating the scat/urine would be used at BJDP camera sites. His request was granted on Dec.2. The Woodland Park Zoo didn’t provide McCain scat until sometime after March 13, 2009 when they sent him an email on that date notifying him they would be shipping the scat soon. Months after Macho B’s death and the publication of my allegations of the use of jaguar scat at the snare site that captured Macho B (which lead to the federal investigation), McCain, again, requested jaguar scat from the zoo for use in his Mexican study.

McCain also requested scat from the Reid Park Zoo in Tucson, Arizona. He submitted a proposal requesting jaguar scat and scratch logs (from the jaguars’ (two sisters) enclosure) to place in front of BJDP cameras to lure a jaguar in for a photograph and to illicit scent marking behavior (supposedly from the scratch logs). His request was granted and the first batch of jaguar scat (no scratch logs) was picked up by a BJDP volunteer on 2-18-09. I am not aware of this scat ever being placed in the field as Macho B was snared on Feb. 18, euthanized on March 2, and subsequently, most BJDP field work had stopped. But, McCain asked the zoo for more scat on 3-13-09 “for a trip into some new country and I would like to take a good stash of scat with me if that is at all possible.”

McCain first contacted the Phoenix Zoo (AZ) on Sept. 2, 2008 to request scat/urine from the new male jaguar, Lucero, they had received from Sonora, Mexico. The following month he gave a presentation about BJDP to zoo staff and again requested scat. McCain provided the zoo a grant proposal written by him and Childs, dated 10-3-08, where under Methodology it states, “we will place attractant lure, in the form of jaguar urine and/or feces in front of each camera.” With regard to providing BJDP jaguar scat, a redacted zoo employee stated “the zoo didn’t give much thought about permits and assumed permits were in place” (BJDP did not have a permit to use jaguar scat and/or urine as scent lures for the camera project).

Female jaguar scat was collected at the Phoenix Zoo for McCain for one week in November. Although McCain had requested scat when the female was in heat (estrus) she was not during this collection period. The scat was brought to McCain on December 10. McCain, myself, and several volunteers used the scat at various camera sites in the northern and southern portions of  Macho B’s territory. He was not photographed at any of these sites nor his tracks documented. The second batch of scat from the zoo was picked up by a volunteer on February 2, 2009. This collection combined male and female jaguar scat into one bucket. The zoo keepers felt the female was in estrus during this collection period based on her behavior but another zoo employee disagreed. Stuart Wells (Phoenix Zoo) emailed McCain on 2-3-09, ” I would not have characterized the jaguar as in heat. I don’t agree with the keeper on that.” But, the next day he emailed McCain saying he thought she was in estrus that day based on the male’s behavior and that the zoo would collect the estrus scat.

The use of the male/female jaguar scat at BJDP camera sites began on February 3, 2009.


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