Whistling for the Jaguar

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

Archive for the category “About”

From the Beginning…

Macho B was first documented/photographed in the U.S. in August 1996 by Jack Childs and his hunting party (he was a mt. lion hunter) while exercising his hound dogs in the Baboquivari Mountains of southern Arizona. Six months prior, another lion hunter, Warner Glenn, had photographed a jaguar his hounds bayed in the bootheel of New Mexico. The next year, the jaguar was listed as an Endangered Species thanks to efforts begun by Tony Povilitis and his dedicated students in 1992.  The Jaguar Conservation Team was also formed in 1997, placing the responsibility for jaguar conservation with AZ and NM Game and Fish Departments with the USFWS acting as a partner.

In 2001, Borderlands Jaguar Detection Project (BJDP) was formed by Jack Childs and his wife thanks to an initial grant from the Wildlife Conservation Society. BJDP worked under a permit issued by the USFWS under the Endangered Species Act (While preparing for my trial as a defendant in Macho B’s case I learned that neither I or McCain were ever placed on this permit). Childs placed about a dozen remote game cameras in a few mountain ranges in southern AZ to monitor for jaguar presence. He obtained his first jaguar photograph in December 2001. This jaguar was named Macho A (Male A in Spanish). Macho A was photographed in the same canyon Macho B would be snared in years later. In 2002 I became a volunteer with BJDP and monitored a camera site with another volunteer. In 2004, Emil McCain was hired as the biologist for BJDP. BJDP was soon considered the research arm of the AZGFD/NMGFD Jaguar Conservation Team. Childs was the chair for their research committee and also served on the Team’s depredation committee and led a work group about the preferred method for capturing and collaring a jaguar (it was with hounds). McCain also served for the Jaguar Conservation Team on their scientific advisory board.

Macho B was first photographed by BJDP in August 2004. It wasn’t until two years later when Warner Glenn’s hounds bayed yet another jaguar that spot patterns were compared between Glenn’s latest jaguar photos and photos obtained over the years from BJDP cameras that Childs realized Macho B was the jaguar he met in 1996. Macho A disappeared form BJDP cameras in 2004 after last being photographed with Macho B following his trail just a few hours behind. After Macho A vanished from the project, Macho B remained the only jaguar to be documented by BJDP cameras and personnel until his death in February 2009.

Macho B was photographed along the US-MX borderlands over the next few years. When McCain and I began working together in 2006, I was given extra BJDP cameras to place wherever I wanted. I put one of those cameras next to the rock in which I had encountered a jaguar in 1999. Four months later the camera captured the right profile of Macho B, suggesting he was the animal I had met seven years prior! He was, once again, over forty miles north of the US-MX border. Macho B was continuously photographed in this area, including the first images of him spray marking his territory, for the next ten months. Then Macho B did a vanishing act but ultimately resurfaced on BJDP cameras near the AZGFD snaring project in which McCain was now also employed.

The first image captured of Macho B far away from the US-MX border.


Macho B

I first met Macho B in 1999 on a hiking trail close to my home.  My dogs and I were on a walk when we turned a bend in the trail and encountered the silhouette of a large cat perched on a rock in the twilight.  Our eyes met for the briefest of moments before my dogs gave chase and Macho B jumped from his perch, “coughing” while he ran in the opposite direction.  My dogs gave up in a matter of seconds and ran back to me only to pass by and continue down the trail back to our home.  I was left alone in the small canyon with a vocalizing jaguar for the most profound minutes of my life.

Why I am here

Close to three years ago I became the whistle-blower that initiated the federal investigation into the snaring and death of the United States only known resident jaguar, Macho B.  Unfortunately, it was all for naught as absolutely nothing has changed in jaguar conservation for the benefit and protection of these incredibly rare and magnificent animals.  I’ve been working on a book about Macho B’s death but with the announcement of a new jaguar research project taking place in Arizona and the documentation of a new jaguar in Arizona this past November it feels like time is of the essence.  Therefore, this blog will be about Macho B’s snaring and death; the whole story.  The goal is to prevent another snared and dead jaguar.

If you are interested in knowing more about my involvement in Macho B’s case please click on the link posted below to an essay I wrote entitled, Truth and Consequences.  It was first published in the fall/winter 2011 edition of Three Coyotes, a literary and visual arts journal.

Brun 2011; Truth and Consequences

links to articles about jaguar photographed in November 2011 in southern Arizona and the new jaguar study can be found in the blogroll.

The idea

All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.

Galileo Galilei

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