Whistling for the Jaguar

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

She said, He said

Tony Davis and Tim Stellar of the AZ Daily Star responded to my email the following day. Though I did not give any names in the email I sent Davis about who directed me to place scat and who was activating snares when Macho B was confirmed to be in the area, they asked if it was McCain and Smith. They questioned me awhile and then said they would get back to me after speaking with McCain and Smith. Davis sent an email to McCain highlighting what I had said, asking him questions, and requesting an interview. McCain got Davis’ email and after reading it contacted his father, Ron Thompson, Terry Johnson, and Thorry Smith. McCain was focused on my statements about jaguar scat being used at BJDP cameras that were also in the AZGFD snaring area and that he had directed me to place scat out, including at the snare where Macho B was eventually caught.

According to Smith: ” McCain and Smith both agreed to make up a story that no jaguar scat was used during their activities on 2-4-09. Smith stated McCain told him he had informed Thompson about the use of jaguar scat and Thompson recommended McCain “deny it.” McCain told Smith, “Sometimes you’ve gotta lie.” McCain agreed to go to the Bear Valley Ranch to remove any jaguar scat in the area to make their story plausible. Smith later received confirmation, by phone, that McCain cleaned the area of jaguar scat by saying, “We’re good.” Smith also stated that McCain had tried to contact AZGFD Endangered Species Coordinator, Terry Johnson to tell him that McCain had a camera log (that was fabricated by McCain) that indicated scat was not used.”

McCain contacted his father whom took notes and supplied his son with a supplemental script to defame my character while defending McCain’s. McCain also had a script that he and Childs often used when describing former volunteers/interns for BJDP. McCain referred to both when he finally spoke to Tony Davis and answered questions about me.

Terry Johnson shared several recorded voice messages with the USFWS Special Agents. The first was left at 4:13pm on 3-31-09 by Smith. In the message, Smith stated, “he heard that Brun had alleged they had placed jaguar scat at the trap site and her allegations were false and they did not tell her to do so.” McCain also left a message saying, ” he was in the Huachuca Mountains (where he and Smith met to fabricate story) and wanted Johnson to call him back.” The next message on 4-1-09 at 7:52 am was from McCain. In the message McCain states, ” for obvious reasons he could not sleep the night before so he went home; he knew something was not right and looked in his field notes (sidenote: McCain rarely kept field notes) and he had some good news (this would be the fabricated camera/field log).” The next message, also from McCain, was left later that day and he again asked Johnson to call him,” because he had some information that he thought Johnson should have.” Johnson was not allowed to call McCain back per AZGFD Director Voyles’ instruction. But, Johnson did speak with McCain at some point during the day.

According to Johnson: ” On 3-31-09 McCain told him that he had been contacted by Tony Davis of the AZ Daily Star. McCain said he had seen Brun’s statements saying that McCain had ordered her to put jaguar scat at the snare site that captured Macho B. McCain said he or Smith did not tell Brun to place jaguar scat at the snare, ” but we did put female jaguar scat over at this camera set that is less than half a mile away (from the snare).” McCain said the jaguar scat was placed at the camera the same day the snare was opened. Johnson stated, ” excluding legality, but from an ecological/biological point of view the placement of jaguar scat at a game camera near the snare was an intentional capture of a jaguar because there was habitat connectivity. In the eyes of the public AZGFD would appear guilty.” McCain asked Johnson for advice and he recommended McCain talk to an attorney before responding to anyone especially reporter Tony Davis who was asking for an interview.”

Johnson immediately alerted AZGFD officials, including Director Voyles. AZGFD then had a meeting with USFWS Regional Director Tuggle. Voyles supposedly told Tuggle that USFWS should conduct the investigation but Tuggle requested AZGFD conduct its own administrative investigation. Voyles then contacted the Attorney Generals’ Office to request they conduct the investigation rather than AZGFD investigate itself (sidenote: The AG Office is AZGFD’s lawyer in all legal matters). The AG indicated they would conduct the investigation but then the USFWS claimed the case after AZ Congressman, Raul Grijalva, requested they conduct it. The USFWS and AZGFD often act in partnership in conservation matters for AZ, including the AZGFD snaring project in which Macho B was captured. So in reality, there was not an impartial participant in the whole investigation process, including the AZ US Attorneys Office that ultimately prosecuted the case.

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