Whistling for the Jaguar

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

Day 13: March 2

Act 1: The Recapture

McCain emails the owner of Bear Valley Ranch to ask, “for permission to use the Bear Valley Ranch house as a base of operations for a recapture and possible veterinary examination/work of Macho B.” McCain also mentions that Macho B’s, “health is deteriorating quickly and AZGFD will be attempting to capture him today and bring him out for a rehabilitation effort.” The BVR owner obliges.

From an AZGFD inter-office memo: ” The helicopter arrives at the BVR at 10:45 AM and personnel and capture equipment were loaded. The helicopter took off at 11:20 for last known GPS location of the Jaguar. Helicopter then began to hover over location in search of the jaguar. At 11:30 the helicopter dropped off Smith who then hiked in and was unsuccessful locating the jaguar so he radioed for the hounds to be brought in to assist. At 11:51 the houndsman and his 2 hounds were dropped off in the canyon.”

From Smith’s recounting of events: ” … the dogs struck the track. After a few moments the dogs pushed the track… and I called for the ship to back off so REDACTED(it is the houndsman’s name) could hear if the dogs bayed the cat. As we moved toward the dogs the houndsman said he heard their distinct bayed/treed bark and we went toward their location. I called to the ship to approach and get ready for a shot. The houndsman was already with the dogs and Macho B when Ole shot the dart. According to the houndsman when Ole fired, the dart hit Macho B in the left rump and thinking he did it, Macho B charged him. When I arrived the dogs had him bayed under a tree and were barking but not aggressive. I was concerned by not leashing the dogs that Macho B in his state would be injured, but the houndsman’s dogs were ideal for the situation and I never saw one mouth the cat. A moment later Macho B was immobilized and I called the ship to land. I applied liquid tears to Macho B’s eyes and noticed an infection in Macho B’s rear left leg that I pointed out to Ole when he arrived. ( Smith would later comment that, ” Macho B appeared to be dragging his hind legs as he climbed a rock ledge.” He also stated, ” that something looked wrong with Macho B’s rear left leg and commented it felt bubbly; was scarred over, black in color; infected; had a small bubble wrap feel to it; but not swollen.”)

Smith: ” The houndsman and I took several pictures of one another while Ole came to meet us.”

AZGFD Houndsman with Macho B

AZGFD wildlife tech, Thorry Smith with Macho B

Smith continued: ” … the stretcher was too awkward and cumbersome in the bushes… we each took a turn carrying Macho B around our necks to the ship. At the ship Ole gave fluids, and I took the temperature (102.3) and we kept Macho B in the shade. The pilot flew the houndsman and the dogs back to the staging area while Ole kept Macho B stable. When the ship returned, we put Macho B in the back and flew to the staging area where Ole prepped Macho B for the trip to the Phoenix Zoo.”

Macho B being intubated by AZGFD contract vet, Dr. Ole Alcumbrac

Macho B being readied for transport to the Phoenix Zoo

“As this occurred, the doors were put back on the ship and the ground crew (side note: this included Crabb and Thompson) got a single file look at Macho B.” According to Dr. Alcumbrac, “he administered fluids intravenously, intubated the jaguar, and kept the animal sedated with a gas anesthesia as it was transported to the Phoenix Zoo.” At approximately 1:40 the helicopter left BVR to transport Macho B to Tucson to refuel and then to continue on to Phoenix for transport to the zoo.

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