Mar. 2, 2009 12:00 AM
TUCSON - A federal lawsuit over protecting the jaguar goes to trial this month, just as wildlife workers have been able to put a GPS tracking device on a jaguar to begin gathering information that could be crucial to developing protections for the big cat.
On Feb. 18, a jaguar nicknamed Macho B documented by tracking cameras since 1996 was inadvertently snared by an Arizona Game and Fish Department trap. Authorities attached the tracking device and released the sedated animal.
The collar signals location information every three hours and signals when the border is crossed; government scientists and environmentalists agree that it's likely to provide a wealth of data.
But the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Center for Biological Diversity disagree over what good the new information will do.
The environmentalists want the government to further protect the animal and assure its survival.
The center sued U.S. Fish and Wildlife because it hasn't designated a critical habitat or written a recovery plan for the jaguar.
Arizona Game and Fish Department officials believe the information gathered tracking the animal will help in their efforts to protect jaguars.
Trial is set for March 23.
Learn more about big cats and Big Cat Rescue at http://www.bigcatrescue.org