Are you f’n serious??!!
On April 6, 2009 McCain called Terry Johnson of AZGFD to report a stolen BJDP camera that might have been purchased with AZGFD funding. He claimed the camera site was “spiritually important” to me insinuating that I was the thief. In reality, McCain had recently been to the area to “clean up” and probably took the camera because it had a picture of me placing scat in front of it. I hypothesize that he took the camera instead of replacing the digital memory card in an effort to lend credence to his “disgruntled employee, whack-job” description of me to Johnson.
The non-profit organization that allowed BJDP to collect funds through them emailed McCain asking him all sorts of questions regarding his involvement in Macho B’s capture and death and inquiring about the funds they helped to provide being used in these efforts. McCain responded in half-truths, whole truths, and a few lies, but in the end they severed all ties with him and BJDP. But, McCain had nothing to fear because he and Thompson’s mutual friend down at Texas Tech had his own non-profit for carnivore conservation work and gave his organization’s tax id to McCain so funding could be obtained for BJDP’s camera work. Only there was no camera work as everything was on hold because of the criminal investigation.
So McCain turned to Ron Thompson for support. According to McCain: ” After the jaguar was euthanized, Thompson offered him a lot of support. They would get drunk and talk much about the matter. Thompson kept McCain informed about AZGFD issues pertaining to the jaguar and the interviews conducted by the USFWS special agents.” Thompson also got McCain hooked up with jobs in Mexico. There was the first gig of hard releasing two female jaguars after dental surgery in the Yucatan (see blogroll for article). The youngest jaguar wore Macho B’s collar and died after less than ten days post-release. In an email to the rest of the field team McCain stated he would have found the jaguar’s body days earlier but did not know the VHF component on the collar didn’t have a mortality signal. I guess he forgot because months prior the man whom donated that collar to McCain, Blake Henke, had told him exactly that. The other jaguar from this project was killed months later by locals. But, there was still more jaguar work for McCain. In June 2009 the Woodland Zoo of Seattle Washington emailed McCain asking if he still wanted, ” feces from our female” for his project. McCain responded, “… our field work is all on hold until the federal investigation is completed… In the meantime I have started extensive camera survey work in Northern Mexico… I would like to use your scat samples at those cameras.” In the fall of 2009 I heard through the grapevine, initiated by a concerned biologist in northern Mexico, that Thompson was applying for permits there to capture and collar jaguars and McCain would be involved in the effort. I alerted the USWFS agents because of my perceived risks to the animals’ safety if McCain was involved. I asked if they could alert wildlife authorities in Sonora? They responded there was nothing they could do, it was another country, and there was a lack of trust between them and their Mexican counterparts. I was shocked at such a lame excuse! The jaguar is protected in the U.S. and Mexico and biologists and organizations from both countries often collaborate on projects together. Shit, the USFWS provided funding for jaguar projects in both countries and this includes the recent U.S. mandated review of designating critical habitat for the jaguar. In most other professions, if an individual is the focus of a criminal investigation concerning their job that individual would be suspended from work until the investigation was over and the person was confirmed guilty or innocent. But not in jaguar conservation world. There they seem to live by the motto, “Shoot, shovel, and shut up.”
Meanwhile McCain offered the following reasons to people as to why he was being investigated: ” the investigation was a load of political bullshit; redacted are trying to get the mitigation money (I doubt he referred to Thompson or Childs whom actually did get the mitigation money through USFWS, funded by the Dept. of Homeland Security through U.S. tax dollars) and to do that they think they need the (sic) shoot me down; “the greens” are trying to frame me for murdering Macho B.”