Whistling for the Jaguar

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

Capture

The above photo is from the AZGFD website and was taken of Macho B on Feb. 18, 2009 when he was found caught in an AZGFD snare.

On the morning of February 18, 2009 Smith and Crabb met at Bear Valley Ranch to check the AZGFD snares. Upon entering Penasco Canyon, Smith stated: ” We immediately noticed what appeared to be fresh jaguar tracks leading toward the snares. The jaguar tracks passed through the first snare (the one set on Feb. 5 by Smith) but did not deploy because of human tampering.” Smith and Crabb continued down the canyon trail to the next snare and Smith said they found, “a snared adult jaguar laying on the ground not appearing too alarmed at my approach.” Smith then prepared a Telazol dose for a 150lb. jaguar (weight determined by in-person estimation and from photos he had seen of Macho B). “Due to the animal’s quiet state,” Smith prepared a 2.0 cc drug dose going with the lower end of the recommended dose from the JAGCT protocol and the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Jaguar Health Program Manual.

From Smith’s testimony: “I approached relatively unchallenged to within about 5 meters and darted the jaguar in the left rump with the appropriate dart pressure set on the Dan-Inject rifle for such a shot with a 3.0 cc dart. The jaguar leapt to its feet, spun around hissed/growled as I backed away. He watched us intently as we backed around the corner out of sight. The jaguar was darted at 9:07 am with a total of 400 mg Telazol. After waiting ten minutes we approached to find him only slightly conscious and three minutes later we began to process the male jaguar. First, “liquid tears” was given to prevent the drying of his eyes; this was done periodically throughout the capture sequence with a cloth placed over the eyes to minimize sun damage. We hobbled the cat to prevent possible injury to him and ourselves and weighed him with a scale. The jaguar weighed 118lbs. (Smith comments he was glad he went with the low dose because of the weight discrepancy between the estimated and the reality). While Crabb fitted the satellite collar (ear tags were also inserted) I took an anal temperature reading and found it to be at the lower end of the safe range (94.8 degrees F) and we then carried the cat into the morning sunlight and placed him on a sweatshirt to buffer him from the cool ground (frost covered the ground). Throughout the capture I checked his steadily increasing temperature, which eventually peaked at 100.4 degrees F. Small cuts/abrasions, mostly on his left rear leg were treated with topical spray and iodine. Both were applied to his swollen snared left fore paw as well.”

In Crabb’s testimony, she stated she noticed the “Pinocchio” rosette on the jaguar and had remembered hearing about the identifying marker so concluded this was one of the previously photographed jaguars. She did not know the “Pinocchio” rosette was used to identify Macho B. Macho B had two identifying rosettes; “Pinocchio” on his right side and “Betty Boop” on his left.

Top Left: The “Betty Boop” rosette is in the middle of his body, close to the spine. A stick at the top of his body is actually pointing at/framing the rosette. Bottom left:  “Pinocchio” rosette.

Smith continued: ” We got biological samples to include some blood, 2 DNA cheek swabs, hair (follicles), and a scat pulled from the colon. Early in his immobilization the jaguar’s respiration rate was 12-16 bpm, increasing to >20 bpm as the drug wore off. Measured heart rate was 120-150 bpm. Obviously an older cat, evidenced by tooth wear, he still had massive upper and lower canines on the right side, a half-broken and worn lower canine on the left side and a missing upper left canine. It was unclear if the tooth was lost during the struggle with the snare or at an earlier point. No tooth was found at the capture site.” Crabb then left to deactivate the rest of the snares and to retrieve and drive Smith’s work truck down the road that dead-ended at the canyon.

Smith concludes: “At 14:58 he lifted his head when touched…and gave us a deep throaty growl, identical to an African lion’s… At 15:03 he was stumbling down canyon. As Telazol takes affect , loss of body controls progresses from the posterior and toward the head. It is in reverse order that an animal recovers. The jaguar was mentally prepared to leave but was having difficulty convincing his rear legs of this. Over the next 25 minutes he gradually recovered more and more and we last saw him walking down canyon.”

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