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Arizona Daily Star, May 12, 2009

Tucson center plans suit over jaguar death

The Center for Biological Diversity today gave notice that it intends to sue the Arizona Game and Fish Department for what it said was illegally capturing the jaguar Macho B without a permit.

The center filed a formal 60-day notice of intent to sue as a way of preventing the department from capturing any other jaguars in the way it captured Macho B. The department captured Macho B on Feb. 18, put a radio collar on him and released him into the wild. Twelve days later, it recaptured him after his movements slowed dramatically, and took him to the Phoenix Zoo where the jaguar was euthanized after the zoo veterinarians diagnosed him with irreversible kidney failure -- a diagnosis later questioned by other veterinarians.

The department said the jaguar’s capture was inadvertent, carried out as part of a research project aimed at capturing and studying black bears and mountain lions. Officials have said they had a permit to capture a jaguar. But the center’s notice said the department’s permit didn’t cover what the center described as “incidental take” of the jaguar in the way that the capture occurred -- through the bear and lion project.

”The death of Macho B was a tragedy that should never have happened,” said Michael Robinson, conservation advocate for the Center for Biological Diversity. “We are taking action today to ensure that no more jaguars are captured like Macho B.”

Photo © Paul S. Hamilton