Day 4: February 21
1. Ron Thompson emails McCain to let him know that he is on the $50 million Department of Homeland Security mitigation fund team to propose projects and BJDP is at the top of his list. He also tells McCain he can no longer use his gov’t email to communicate with him because it could be considered a “conspiracy.”
The DHS mitigation fund gave $771,000 to USFWS for jaguar conservation. They, in turn, had an open call for grant proposals. The University of Arizona was awarded the money for a three year jaguar project. Jack Childs, of the BJDP, is apart of that project and it is my understanding that Ron Thompson is as well.
2. McCain emails Johnson back in regard to his email the night before. McCain agrees with the suggestion of being aware of any trapping efforts in the area. He lets Johnson know that he contacted Dr. Aguilar and Dr. Deem in preparation for an incidental catch of a jaguar. He suggests leaving his name out of the press. And in regard to any questions from reporters or others about the validity of the lion/bear project he gives background info on the project and states, “the facts are clear, as all the project partners met with USFWS and DHS back in Dec. to discuss the large-scale collaborative project.” McCain then says he “will do his best” to keep everyone informed about the “cat’s movements and activity,” and promises to keep the access codes, “totally out of reach of all, no matter what.” Next, is an update on Macho B, which is that he is still in the same spot though, “it looks as if he took a short trip last night down to the creek bottom… and then returned up to his hideout.” McCain then suggests stressing to the public how a collared Macho B can help with “landowner/jaguar” relations, as far as depredation of livestock is concerned, because his kills will be located and documented. Finally, he concludes, ” I can not tell you how happy I am and how proud I am to be a part of such a great team effort. Let’s bring the key players together soon to coordinate, and also to celebrate our great accomplishment.”
I forgot about the feds…
1. On Feb. 19 Dr. Aguilar blind copies USFWS “jaguar lead” Erin Fernandez on the emails between him, Smith, and McCain about the capture and them thanking him for the jaguar immobilization advice. One email Dr. Aguilar blind copied Fernandez on was addressed to someone else and it began, “This sort of thing can be sensitive, so please don’t mention it to anyone, but the jaguar capture (I am told was incidental) and collaring went well.”
2. On February 20, Fernandez received an email from USFWS ES (redacted) who wrote that she had searched the USFWS database for permits issued to AZGFD and found one that was current.
Fernandez emails USFWS biologist, Sarah Rinkevich: “Uh oh, the AGD permit with the jaguar language expired in 2006. The new one (good until 2011) doesn’t include any jaguar language. Since the capture yesterday was incidental to their other authorized activities, are they covered under the permit for the jaguar capture?”
Rinkevich replies: “They may be covered based on their Section 6 agreement. This is a big oops however.”