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Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
5:42 PM Sun, Nov. 18th

Editorial: Macho B's death was not a plan

Who says America doesn't have a great education system?

After all, everyone in this country seems to know how to do everyone else's job.

Take the sad case of Macho B, the wild jaguar that Arizona Game & Fish agents recently inadvertently captured from the wild in a snare trap and fitted with a tracking collar.

A short time later, data from the collar transmitter revealed that the big cat wasn't moving about normally. Agents recaptured it and found it was in the advanced stages of kidney failure. Officials decided to euthanize him.

The Phoenix Zoo veterinarian who conducted a necropsy on the cat confirmed Macho B's kidneys weren't working properly and said the stress of the two captures may have hastened his demise. If the cat was in kidney failure, would it be irrelevant to ask how much time the captures took off his life?

The Center for Biological Diversity, loath to miss an opportunity for face time, conducted a memorial service for Macho B outside U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service offices in Tucson. The group also called on President Barack Obama to ban the capture of any other jaguars until wildlife officials establish a species recovery plan.

Scientists estimate that Macho B was 15 to 16 years old and clearly not well. Even a healthy human at an analogous stage of life would be in a walker. The stress of capture probably did hasten his death, the same way some unsuccessful heroic treatment efforts might hasten the death of any terminally ill patient.

The Center for Biological Diversity folks are acting as though the wildlife officials involved took great delight in Macho B's suffering and demise.

The magnificent cat was the last known jaguar living in Arizona. Had he lived a little longer, the data from his collar might have led officials to other jaguars and provided insights in how wildlife scientists indeed could help the species recover.

Macho lived an incredibly long life, and when he clearly had little hope or quality of life left, wildlife officials shortened his suffering.

He may have been the last jaguar in Arizona.

If he isn't, the remaining jaguars probably can do without the help of the Center for Biological Diversity.