Whistling for the Jaguar

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

The Investigation: Jack Childs

USFWS Special Agents (SA) made contact with Childs (McCain & I’s boss on BJDP) on April 5, 2009 by surprising him with a home visit. The SAs asked Childs if he would be willing to answer questions about Macho B but he declined preferring to consult with an attorney first. But Childs did offer one statement; “The Borderlands Project was completely separate from the AZGFD lion and bear snaring project and the Borderlands Jaguar Detection Project  (BJDP) had nothing to do with the capture of Macho B and he didn’t know anything until after Macho B was caught.”

Childs must have forgotten a few things when he made this statement. For starters AZGFD was using BJDP data from cameras and track surveys and the project’s biologist, McCain, to determine where the AZGFD’s snares would be placed and both projects occupied the same areas, including snares being placed within feet of BJDP cameras. Second, Childs was included in an email McCain sent out to his AZGFD coworkers listing Childs as a contact for information regarding trapping for the AZGFD snaring project near Bear Valley Ranch. And after Macho B was trapped Childs’ sent out a congratulatory email to “the team” stating he always felt comfortable they could perform such a “monumental event successfully.”

On June 30, 2010 the USFWS SAs returned to Childs’ home in an attempt to speak with him again. Before Childs spoke with them he wanted a guarantee that he was not going to be prosecuted. Childs did say he had spoken with an attorney since the SAs last visit whom advised him to dodge the SAs when the investigation began. Childs also said, “he was frustrated over the jaguar incident and now felt that he and the BJDP had no credibility and that jaguar and large carnivore research had been sent back to the Stone Age.” Childs continued, “he was going to work in Mexico and blamed the predicament on the environmentalists in their efforts to obtain funding.” He also, “blamed Congressman Grijalva for the jaguar habitat law suit.”  Furthermore, Childs stated; “Emil (McCain) had made a mistake and was willing to pay the price. But AZGFD and others for years have been wanting a collar on that animal… I’m not gonna say those redacted did it intentionally… that’s up to you/courts to decide. Everyone had an opportunity to not trap in that area… and no one took that opportunity.”

Interestingly, Childs left himself out of the people whom wanted Macho B collared as he, too, was a big supporter of collaring him. He also forgot to mention his knowledge of Macho B being detected in the vicinity of the active AZGFD snares and his choice to not do anything about it.

Childs concluded with, “If it weren’t for Janay no one would know exactly what happened.” I don’t think he meant that as a compliment.

Childs is currently apart of the University of Arizona jaguar research project. In 2010 he coauthored a paper about analyzing camera data with Ron Thompson and a few others. He also currently works as a consultant for Thompson’s non-profit.

Childs was and probably remains a staunch supporter of McCain.

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