Whistling for the Jaguar

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

Day 3: February 20

1. After Macho B was determined to be the captured jaguar, AZGFD Director Voyles, said, “he thought the event could be problematic because of the age of the jaguar.”

2. McCain responds to a friend’s email: “No jaguar photos had been taken there in the past-got it?” And in a follow-up email, “there is only one person in the world who can access that GPS collar and he is sitting with a bottle of wine in Spain…” He ends the email with, “Why do you think I had to leave the country?”  Then he emails right back and says, “Seriously please delete that last part of that last email, but it is true.”

3. McCain emails Blake Henke of North Star: “The collar was transmitting every three hours… however we have not gotten a location in almost 11 hours. Is there any reason to be concerned? I do know that he is in some pretty rough country.” And in another email, McCain asks, “What are the details of the mortality signal…?” Henke responds, “The VHF does not have a mortality sensor, and the collar does not have a mortality signal either.”

4. Thompson emails McCain about the capture being on the news and advises McCain to keep people informed as to “its moving status as everyone needs to know it is alive and well.”

5. Van Pelt emails McCain asking for “updated info on its movements” to prepare for a newspaper interview. McCain responds: “Unfortunately, I can not give you an update… I have received no new locations for over 12 hours. He is clearly in a big jumble of boulder and the signal is not getting out. He is in the same area as last night… I don’t think there is anything to worry about yet. I would say he is still resting…”

6. Childs emails McCain: “What about our volunteer? We can furnish coordinates of suspected kills for investigation as needed. I think you and I should be only ones with code at this time.” McCain responds: “As for the code. Here’s our story. There is only one person who has that code… Really you and I are the only ones who will ever have it, ok?… You are right, we have never photographed a jaguar in that canyon. If asked if he was in the vicinity of know (sic) locations, we can honestly say that with his huge range, anything in southern Arizona is in the vicinity. You may want to talk with (redacted) and maybe (redacted) about the last issue you mentioned. That we were not expecting him in that area. Ok message deleted.”

Macho A was photographed in Penasco Canyon December 2001. Macho B was photographed in a canyon a few miles from the snares in mid Jan. 2009 and his tracks were found on the trap line Feb. 5, though they were a few weeks old. McCain’s father also had Macho B’s collar code.

7. McCain emails me: “So, I guess the cat is out of the bag, huh? Did shit totally hit the fan at the meeting? What was your take, I have heard some things, but I respect your perspective.” He then asks me to inform him of my field work and where I plan on working. He tells me there is jaguar scat in the freezer at his place in Sonoita for me to pick up and asks if I would be interested in checking out kill sites from a collared lion in the Patagonias because, “you cold (sic) use the practice cause soon you will be investigating more kill sites!” I respond: ” So Terry Johnson opened the mtg. with the news of a jaguar being collared…I was surprised it was announced so early after his capture. I am a bit paranoid about Game and Fish leaks and got nervous about somebody looking for him while recuperating… I got to speak with Thorry before the mtg. I asked him all the un-scientific stuff… Yes I need practice, where is the female’s kill? I forgot all the satellite info (website, password, etc.). I don’t need or want it, but let me know when to check out what.”

When I had spoken to McCain the day before he gave me the user name and password for Macho B’s collar. I had typed it in the computer while speaking to him instead of writing it down.

8. McCain emails his and Thompson’s mutual friend at Texas Tech, “We did it! Macho B is now sporting a NorthStar collar!” His friend responds: ” After talking with Ron last week, I just had a feeling. And just think: he was “incidental” take. McCain responds: “Yes, it was incidental. And you know that. Right? I had nothing to do with this right? And neither did Ron. Ok we are in touch…”

9. McCain emails Van Pelt: ” Ok. We are back online after almost 20 hrs. without a location, our guy just came back on. He is still in the same rocky slope, just a little further down slope. The location says it is an active signal.”

10. Terry Johnson emails Childs and McCain, thanking and congratulating them. He informs them that he and Van Pelt have been appointed as leads for AZGFD on all the Macho B media inquiries. Johnson asks them for daily Macho B updates so he can keep the AZGFD Director and Commission, the AZ Governor, and JAGCT cooperators updated. Johnson also briefs them on a possible quote from Matt Skroch that will be printed in the next edition of the AZ Daily Star that Macho B’s capture seems suspicious (see under blogroll for Feb. 21 article). Johnson also stresses he needs to be called immediately, “if something goes awry.” And if “the cat dies we want to treat it as a potential crime scene first and an interesting biological event second.” Johnson also encourages Childs and McCain to “jump in the media frenzy when and to the extent you are ready…” because he wants them to get their due credit. Childs responds, ” Thanks for the kudos… Emil and I are just part of a team… it may have happened without us but could not have happened without multi agency support.” Childs agrees with Johnson, “that rapid response is imperative in case we receive a mortality signal.”

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