Day 7: February 24
1. McCain emails Johnson/Van Pelt: “Well I hate to say this but our cat is not moving. He has been in the same spot for 20 hours without moving. We only obtained 3 locations over that time (should have been more like 7), so either he is in a spot with very poor satellite coverage or he is shifting slightly in and out of the signal coverage… One thing that has me a little concerned is that each location also indicated if the collar is moving or not moving; these last three locations are not moving. I am not sure exactly what “moving vs not moving” means, but I have put in an inquiry to North Star… Please stand by. I will let you all know.”
2. In a follow-up email several hours later McCain gives an update: “Another point just came in at 3:49 AM your time. Still no movement, collar still reading not moving. That make (sic) at least 24 hours with no know (sic) movement. This should be prime time for him to be moving. Expect another update as soon as the next point comes in… and probably some phone calls.”
Van Pelt responds: “I believe we should send some people with the GPS coordinate for the collar for a look see.”
3. McCain gives another update: “Better news! Our cat has moved exactly 100 meters down slope and as of 7 AM was in the bottom of the canyon. Again the message says there is no movement. I am calling North Star right now to see what the hell that means. But, the good news is that we have some movement. I think there is no need to worry for the time being…”
Van Pelt responds: “Call me paranoid but I still think a look see is in order… In general the movements are still small in nature. My two cents worth.”
McCain responds: “Yes the movements are small-very small for this critter… My first thought is to get a visual, but I tend to want to wait a bit. We are dealing with an old animal who went through a stressful time. If he is dead, there is no hurry to get to him. However, if he is alive and still slowly recovering, I don’t think we need to further stress him at all. The only positive I can see in visiting the site is possibly trying to get a high powered antibiotic/and or anti inflammatory to him and possibly some food… There is also a possibility that he has been on a kill. When I go back and look at everything all together, he was slowly traveling up a steep ridge, then he suddenly dropped down a small steep draw to a dense patch of cover, where he spent over 24 hrs (a perfect place to drag a kill)… And now he has come out and dropped down to the bottom… I happen to know there is a good herd of javelina in that area… What do you guys think?”
Van Pelt responds: “… good point about the kill. Then if we follow your protocol, we should go in tomorrow to document it. I think it is important to document feeding as quickly as possible. This will quiet the critics about the collar inhibiting movement.”
McCain volleys back: “Under my protocol, we wait until the cat has moved out of the area… I just do not want to push him unless we have a good reason.”
Johnson chimes in: “Agreed. Let’s wait for a good reason.”
I would like to remind readers that the above email participants, along with Childs, had previously agreed that if Macho B died, the area would be treated as a crime scene.
4. Another update from McCain: “Ok New point just came in. He has now moved another 100 meters. This time straight up hill and to the northeast. Again the signal says he is not moving… I can now only assume he is more or less ok. I would hold off on going in there until he clears the area, as I think this is about the best possible place for him to peacefully recovering (sic). No need to bother him at this point.”
5. A BJDP volunteer emails McCain questions about the collaring of Macho B including, “Did AZ Fish and Game really want Macho B collared, or are they just playing along after the fact?” The volunteer also remarks about the capture, “What a stroke of well planned luck!” McCain responds in part: “AZGFD is totally stoked. They did say they would have never giving (sic) us permission to do it, but are very glad we did… We plan on immediately starting an indepth diet study, and I plan to have BJDP visit each and every possible kill site…”
6. McCain gives Van Pelt and Johnson another update: “Our cat appears to be doing fine… As of about 1 PM he had moved across the slope to the east another 80 meters… Once he clears out of this general area, we will have to spend a day looking around for sure. Maybe my first day back in the states… I have been in communication with (redacted) who has been talking with (redacted). They are both available until friday and ready to make a trip into the site to check him out. They are currently standing by. Also, I spoke with North Star and have learned a lot about how the collar works. It turns out the moving/not moving component is not terribly useful for a situation like this. It is also noteworthy that our collar does NOT have a mortality signal as I thought it did…”
The redacted names from the above email are most likely Smith and Thompson based on their involvement with Macho B’s recapture and future communications with McCain.
Johnson replies to McCain’s update: “Absolutely fantastic! Well, except for that part about the mortality signal. That complicates things a little. LOL!”