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.”
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.”
“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.