Group calls for halt to jaguar captures after death

Macho B

Macho B

The Center for Biological Diversity is calling on President Obama to ban the capture of jaguars until a species recovery plan is in place, after the death of a rare Arizona jaguar.

Arizona Game and Fish Department officials captured and attached a GPS collar to an endangered jaguar for the first time Feb. 18. "Macho B" was the last known jaguar to be living in the United States. Scientists estimated he was 15-16 years of age, the oldest known wild jaguar.

Former President Bush would not designate critical habitat for the jaguar or work on a recovery plan under the Endangered Species Act, and now the center is asking Obama to do it.

Researchers noticed Macho B wasn't moving around much last weekend, so they recaptured it Monday to see what was wrong, according to a Game and Fish press release. Seeing pronounced kidney failure, they euthanized it.

Kidney failure is common in older cats, the Game and Fish press release added.

The center's press release cited an Arizona Daily Star story that interviewed Dr. Dean Rice, the Phoenix Zoo's executive vice president and a veterinarian who treated the jaguar.

The story quoted Rice saying that the sedative researchers used twice on the jaguar could have had a negative effect on its already-failing kidneys. Medical experts commonly advise caution before using anesthesia on older animals.

A zoo spokesperson said Thursday that the center's press release was incorrect, and Rice was headed to Tucson with Game and Fish officials to conduct a press conference.

The zoo spokesperson did not provide more details before press time.