Macho B freely roamed the borderlands of northern Sonora and southern Arizona for 16 years.
During the course of an illegal/illegitimate AZGFD lion and bear snaring project Macho B was trapped (the proper permits were not in place nor was the project properly vetted through environmental checklists and a legally required section 7 consultation with USFWS). The snares had been set in his known territory and reactivated after it was confirmed he was in the general area. The snare sites were picked by an AZGFD sub-contractor, Emil McCain, whom also worked as the biologist for the one and only jaguar monitoring research project in AZ and all of the U.S. An additional snare was set on the trap line by AZGFD employee, Thorry Smith, near Macho B’s tracks. And McCain, my supervisor on the jaguar research project, directed me to place jaguar scat at a snare site after I was assured there were permits (that ended up being false). And yet, AZGFD maintained that Macho B was not targeted for capture. This is curious as from high up to low down in the AZGFD power structure, people were aware that Macho B was being documented near the active snares and that there was a good chance he could be trapped. Though they all claimed they didn’t want Macho B trapped, the people responsible for his safety did nothing, and enabled his capture to occur.
Macho B was trapped in a snare for an indeterminate amount of time. While snared he broke a canine tooth down to the root exposing the nerve endings. He might have been attacked by a javelina (aka desert pig) while trapped as evidenced by the javelina tooth found embedded in his tail. He most definitely suffered hypothermia as when he was finally released from the snare and his vitals taken his temperature was four degrees lower than normal. Macho B was anesthetized with the drug Telazol. The drug knocked him out for six hours and possibly caused him to hallucinate and feel the effects of the drug at a later time (maybe days later) through the process known as re-narcing.
Groggy, with a GPS collar around his neck and bright, yellow tags punched through his ears Macho B stumbled away from the trap site. The following day he walked several miles to his future tomb. Over the next 12 days his health deteriorated, unnoticed, as the person tasked with monitoring Macho B for AZGFD, Emil McCain, constantly put off talk about anyone attempting to go in and get a visual assessment of him. By the time McCain relented and gave the GPS coordinates of Macho B’s location to AZGFD, a vet on the assessment team visually diagnosed him as suffering from renal failure. Macho B was recaptured by AZGFD and taken to the Phoenix Zoo. Because the blood work was “off the charts” with regard to his kidneys failing; the severity of his canine tooth injury; the stress of the initial capture; and the severe emphysema in his back leg rendering it almost useless, Macho B was killed/euthanized after less than two hours at the Zoo’s hospital.
AZGFD requested Macho B’s hide for “educational” purposes and the USFWS consented. And so Macho B’s final journey was to a taxidermist’s table to be skinned and stuffed, turning him into the trophy that so many involved in his capture viewed him to be.