Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Arizona: Questions arise in the wake of jaguar's death

Posted: March 3, 2009 08:39 PM
Updated: March 3, 2009 09:49 PM
By Dan Marries - email

Jaguars are a rare breed in the united states. There have been only a few sightings in the last ten years north of the border. So last month when game and fish managers captured Macho B there was excitement as to what they could learn from a tracking collar they put around his neck.

But the enthusiasm was short lived. Using the data being collected by the collar AZ Game and Fish quickly realized something was wrong. Macho B was losing weight and showing distress. They decided to recapture him March 2. He was rushed to the Phoenix Zoo and blood tests revealed he was suffering from kidney failure. The tough decision to put him down was made.

Now the questions. Were Macho N's kidneys shutting down when he was originally caught and collared? Did the stress of that ordeal contribute to his death? Officials hope a necropsy, or animal autopsy, will provide some answers. Game and Fish says Macho B was around 16 years old, double the age jaguars usually live to be. They also say kidney failure is common in big cats. No matter what the cause of Macho B's death researchers will still study the tracks he left behind.

A federal lawsuit over protecting the jaguar goes to trial this month. The Tucson based Center for Biological Diversity sued U.S. Fish and Wildlife because it hasn't designated a critical habitat or written a recovery plan for the jaguar. Trial is set for March 23.


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