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For Immediate Release, March 4, 2009


Michael Robinson, (575) 313-7017
Randy Serraglio, (520) 784-1504

Scientist: Capture Contributed to Jaguar's Death

TUCSON, Ariz.— In an interview published today in the Arizona Daily Star, Dr. Dean Rice of the Phoenix Zoo stated that stress from the capture and tranquilizing of Macho B contributed to the jaguar’s kidney problem, resulting in the decision to euthanize him Monday.

Dr. Rice is the Phoenix Zoo’s executive vice president and is also one of two veterinarians who performed the necropsy. Dr. Rice concluded that Macho B likely had a deteriorating kidney prior to being captured and tranquilized. However, the stress of the capture and the passing of the tranquilization drugs through the ailing kidney caused extreme stress to the endangered animal, playing a key role in its death.

“Any medications, any drugs we take, no matter whether you are human or animal…if you give them sedation and the kidneys are not working,” the sedative can have a negative effect, Dr. Rice is quoted as stating.

The Center for Biological Diversity called today for an independent scientific review by a federally appointed recovery team to determine whether the capture and handling of the jaguar took into account the age of the animal and the possibility that it would be more vulnerable to kidney dysfunction or other health problems. Such a review is needed to determine whether adjustments to the protocol for capturing and handling these magnificent animals are needed, or indeed whether capturing jaguars in the first place is an acceptable risk given their small numbers. A federally appointed recovery team would be an excellent body to conduct such a review.

“We hope Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar will appoint a recovery team for the jaguar with their first task being an investigation into the causes of Macho B’s death and needed actions to ensure this tragedy is not repeated,” said Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity.

Authorities are now counting on an analysis of tissue samples of the dead jaguar to provide clues to how long Macho B had kidney problems. On Tuesday the Phoenix Zoo sent the samples to the Arizona Veterinary Diagnostic Lab at the University of Arizona in Tucson.

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