5:41 PM, March 9, 2009
The U.S.' only known living jaguar was euthanized last week after first being unintentionally trapped in a wildlife snare, then fitted with a radio collar and released in southern Arizona. The rare cat was recaptured and put down 12 days later, after biologists concluded it was suffering from a serious kidney problem.
The 16-year-old male, dubbed Macho B by wildlife officials, was known to roam the southern Arizona highlands and into Mexico and has been filmed on motion-detecting cameras many times in the last 12 years.
The jaguar was caught Feb. 18 by the Arizona Game and Fish Department after he became tangled in a snare intended for bears and cougars. The agency attached a radio collar and released the animal, then began to track its movements. Officials became concerned when the jaguar's movements slowed and he appeared to have lost weight.
Wildlife officials, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, recaptured the cat and sedated it and an examination determined the animal had a serious kidney problem. Officials concluded the humane course was to euthanize him.
One of the veterinarians who examined the jaguar said it is likely that the cat had a deteriorating kidney, but that the stress of capture and the tranquilizing drugs administered contributed to the animal's death.
The Center for Biological Diversity, an environmental group, has called for an independent review of the jaguar's handlin.
-- Julie Cart
Learn more about big cats and Big Cat Rescue at http://www.bigcatrescue.org