According to Terry Johnson, on 3-9-09 AZGFD employees had a meeting about the jaguar capture. Because McCain had allegedly insinuated to Johnson that Macho B’s capture was intentional, not inadvertent, it was decided to contact Thorry Smith. Smith was called a few days later while on vacation in Hawaii. Johnson was on that conference call and this is what he had to say about it: “Smith was asked about his knowledge of the jaguar in the area and he responded the most recent record was from the summer of 2008 (the late July/early August photos). Smith was also asked if there was any sign of a jaguar near the snare set and he said, “no.” Since Smith claimed he did not know of the Jan. 09 photos of Macho B, they (AZGFD) took “their” word that the capture was incidental which AZGFD conveyed to the public.”
Smith was aware of Macho B’s photo and track detections from Jan. 09. Hell, Smith had even built a new snare and activated it by Macho B’s tracks on Feb. 5. When Smith returned from vacation he suddenly remembered the Jan. locations of Macho B and amended his previous answers with AZGFD officials.
Johnson stated, ” AZGFD management wanted to take Thorry’s statements as truthful and not try to force a confession.” He continued, ” our employee has told us that this is the truth, and we can either turn up the jets on him and try to force something out of him or we can just accept it at face value and ride with it.” Johnson said that was the decision his superiors had made and his thoughts on that course of action were; “I respect the decision, I agree with the decision, I support the decision, but I have issues here, I have concerns.” Johnson also claimed that AZGFD Director Larry Voyles generally discouraged an immediate investigation. Johnson claimed Voyles’ comments were: “Trust me. We ride with this right now, we will have an investigation on down the road and find out whether this was intentional or not… Six months or so, we’ll get into it, and we’ll investigate.”
I can think of no honest, above-board, ethical, or even legal reason for the Director of AZGFD, the co-lead agency of jaguar conservation, to delay an investigation into the agency’s possible involvement of intentionally targeting and capturing the only known resident jaguar in the U.S. In my mind, Voyle’s decision to delay an investigation is the first step toward initiating the AZGFD cover-up to conceal their employees’ involvement in violating the Endangered Species Act and all relevant AZGFD permits.
Coincidentally, on March 4, McCain was awarded the contract for the capture of large carnivores for the AZGFD. He was selected as the “apparent low, responsive and responsible offer” beating out Clark’s Guide Service where he was sub-contracted for the AZGFD snaring project.