Whistling for the Jaguar

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

Shark Bait

McCain had told AZGFD Endangered Species Coordinator, Terry Johnson that I was a, “disgruntled former employee, a whack job, a spiritualistic hippie, and completely emotionally wrapped up in Macho B,” in an attempt to discredit my statement about him directing me to place scat at the snare site that eventually caught Macho B. Johnson thought, ” McCain had pissed all over her (me) reputation.”

McCain told reporter Tony Davis of the AZ Daily Star that I had been fired from the BJDP that month (March 2009), and that I was, “unreliable, untrustworthy, incompetent” blah, blah, blah. The next day McCain recanted the part about me being fired and changed it to me being “let go” because BJDP had run out of funds.

I was shocked. McCain’s verbal attack on me and his inconsistent explanations about my no longer working for BJDP immediately made me suspicious as hell. Plus, I had no idea I had been fired or “let go” until Davis told me. Then I found out why McCain was acting like such a guilty jackass; Davis and Stellar of the AZ Daily Star informed me there were serious doubts that AZGFD had a permit to intentionally capture a jaguar which was contrary to their statements in the press. So McCain had lied to me about permits and now we, along with Smith, could be held legally culpable for Macho B’s capture.

I wrote to a friend, ” Apparently, Game and Fish only had a permit for an ‘accidental’ take of a jaguar during any other field study.” And in an email to Jack Childs I wrote, ” I believed G&F had the proper permits until today (4-1-09) and that Emil wouldn’t ask me to do something if it wasn’t above board.”

I had to prove to Davis and Stellar I hadn’t been fired or let go. I was able to provide them my March 2009 BJDP invoice detailing the work I had done and a copy of the check Childs wrote me paying me for that work. Next, I forwarded Davis an email McCain had written me just a few weeks prior inviting me to Mexico to work on a wildlife camera project. To prove the scat was real and was used in BJDP activities I supplied Davis with an email chain between McCain and I. In the email McCain tells me he has just received some female jaguar scat and wants to put it under a certain tree. He then asks if I agree.  I answered, “Si.” The email was in reference to a tree some forty miles away from the closest snare and was during a time frame (Dec. 2008) when the snares were closed. Next, I provided an email where McCain is introducing me to someone at the Tucson Zoo as a “biologist” for the BJDP whom is authorized to pick up jaguar scat for the project. I didn’t have any communication with the Phoenix Zoo but Davis was able to locate someone whom knew the Zoo’s Director and he was able to provide the information proving that McCain had been supplied jaguar scat from the Zoo.

I knew McCain and Childs probably wouldn’t support me after I went to Davis because they would be unwilling to sacrifice their connections and names in the jaguar field. Big cat conservation is a small, incestuous world and every contact counts when it comes to funding and publishing opportunities. Besides, they supported capturing and collaring Macho B, apparently no matter what the circumstances, and probably thought there was nothing wrong with the methods in which Macho B was trapped. I’ve since come to realize, generally speaking, that in wildlife conservation there is a distinct disconnect in the conservation of a species from the welfare of an individual within that species. But, I did not expect McCain to outright lie and attack me and Childs to remain completely silent. I now felt it was me against AZGFD and I would assuredly lose. They had resources, experience in spin and manipulation, a team of PR people and their partners, USFWS, were handling the criminal investigation into Macho B’s capture and death. And Smith and McCain were covered under that good ol’boy network as long as they didn’t get caught with their lying and denying. But I was the equivalent of a gutted fish thrashing in shark infested waters. I knew I was a goner and the truth was not going to set me free.


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