Whistling for the Jaguar

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

To stuff a jaguar

According to USFWS Southwest Regional Director, Benjamin Tuggle: ” Steve Spangle (USFWS Field Supervisor) called him about the autopsy of the jaguar. Dr. Tuggle told Spangle he wanted a full autopsy (necropsy).”

According to Spangle: ” AZGFD asked, “what about the hide?” And I said, “I’m not comfortable going there.” … And they (AZGFD) didn’t want that image out there, that they were in any way benefitting from this incident by suddenly having a nice live-mount jaguar for their office or whatever. They didn’t say they wanted it for that, but they said, “What do you want us to do with the hide? We would like to have it.” … and I said “Let’s talk to Benjamin Tuggle about that.” … And that’s when the term I’ve never heard before, “cosmetic necropsy,” came up. And one of the veterinarians… said, well, “if we’re going to preserve the hide, we need to do a cosmetic necropsy.” And in my naivete, I didn’t have any clue that that would compromise the soft tissues. I just thought… they would do a more careful job, midline cut probably, and skin it carefully. I didn’t know until later that it prevented them from testing the brain and spinal tissue is what I hear now. On the other hand, I don’t know that that was critical. We were talking kidneys. We weren’t talking neurological issues. So I didn’t think twice about it… I called Benjamin right after that conversation… Either Larry (Voyles-AZGFD) or Gary (Hovatter-AZGFD) has asked me about disposition of the remains. I said, “We should send the hard parts, the skeletal remains, to a museum for study. And that I would ask you, Dr. Tuggle, what you wanted to do with the skin.” He said, “I’m going to need to think about that and I’ll call Larry (Voyles), and we’ll talk about it.” So that was the end of that.”

According to AZGFD Director, Larry Voyles: “When requests were made to the USFWS by the AZGFD to have the necropsy conducted in a manner to preserve the hide, Voyles said he did not recall if he was made aware of any limitations a cosmetic necropsy would have over a normal necropsy and if it would limit determining cause of death. In fact, he thought the decision to conduct the cosmetic necropsy had already been made before he was made aware that a necropsy would be performed. He said, ” they” (AZGFD & USFWS) had decided to conduct a cosmetic necropsy while in consultation with the veterinarian and he was briefed on the matter later. Tuggle consulted with AZGFD on the disposition of the jaguar remains. The USFWS allowed the AZGFD to preserve the jaguar remains and the taxidermist used had the necessary experience. The taxidermist was retained despite having a citation issued to him in the past by AZGFD.”

According to AZGFD Deputy Director Gary Hovatter: ” The necropsy was requested by AZGFD to be accomplished with care in order to preserve the skin. Redacted recommended a “cosmetic necropsy.” … On March 2, 2009, Hovatter and Voyles spoke to Tuggle on the phone. Hovatter and Voyles briefed Tuggle about the recapture/euthanasia effort. Tuggle supported the cosmetic necropsy and allowed the AZGFD to use the jaguar remains for display and scientific purposes.”

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