Claws out for big cat protection


Macho B's death, contentious and untimely, could also be criminal. 

The capture, collaring and euthanization of America’s last known wild jaguar in March was illegal, according to the Center for Biological Diversity, who brought a lawsuit against Arizona Game and Fish Department yesterday. The Center asserts that AZ Game and Fish did not have the required permits to allow the capture of endangered jaguars, and seeks to prevent the state agency from any other similar captures until it gets all the necessary permits.

This lawsuit is separate from a criminal investigation of Macho B’s treatment that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service undertook in April, which will look into "all aspects of the incident." Tucson congressman Raul Grijalva, the Center for Biological Diversity and the Defenders of Wildlife pushed for a federal investigation after concerns were raised regarding whether Macho B's capture was intentional or not, reported the Arizona Daily Star, which has been following the issue.

“We hope that the Fish and Wildlife Service will seek accountability and justice for the loss of the last known jaguar in United States,” said Michael Robinson of the Center. “Our suit is about preventing future harm to jaguars in the United States,” according to the press release.

While protection and appropriate treatment of the iconic feline is admirable and important, it's unfortunate that this comes after the killing of the last known wild one, which ultimately may have been unnecessary: Was our last wild jaguar euthanized by mistake?