Jaguars in Jeopardy: Legal Wrangle Over Their Management
The Center for Biological Diversity intends to file a lawsuit opposing the government’s use of traps, snares, and poisons in their management of jaguars in the wild. In 2009 a wild jaguar was said to have been caught accidentally in a trap. The animal was known to the Arizona Dept. of Fish and Game as Macho B.
However, a federal investigation following the euthanizing of the jaguar determined that the trapping was intentional. The investigation also raised doubts as to the decision about what type of autopsy was done to determine the cause of death. The Fish and Game position was the death was due to kidney disease and/or kidney failure. But since a complete autopsy was not conducted, the cause of death wasn’t pinpointed. The Center for Biological Diversity’s position is that the jaguar’s death was in part due to mismanagement by the Department of Fish and Game. One of the biologists involved in the capturing of Macho B was fired for lying to investigators. Another issue is that the repeated capture of the animal for fitting with a GPS collar, and for testing may have actually contributed to its declining health.
The Center for Biological Diversity’s suit stems in part from the mysterious death of Macho B, who had traversed the remote areas of southern Arizona (perhaps even venturing into Mexico) before the final capture. Jaguars in that area were assumed to be extinct, or at least extremely rare. Now that there is one less, they need to be protected, even from the government.
“Both these beautiful wildcat species became highly imperiled in the first place partly because of government persecution, and risking the lives of the last remnants of these species in the course of killing cougars, bears, coyotes, or bobcats perpetuates a cruel and illegal policy,” Michael Robinson from the Center said.
Image Credit: Arizona Game and Fish Department