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Interior Inspector Gen. - AZ Game & Fish Employees Deliberately Snared, Killed Last US Jaguar

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hatrack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 12:24 PM
Original message
Interior Inspector Gen. - AZ Game & Fish Employees Deliberately Snared, Killed Last US Jaguar
WASHINGTON, DC, January 22, 2010 (ENS) - The last known wild jaguar in the United States captured and killed last year in Arizona, was intentionally caught by employees of the Arizona Game and Fish Department in a snare, the Interior Department's Office of Inspector General said in a report issued Wednesday that implicates the state agency in criminal activities. Jaguars are a federally protected endangered species. The death and subsequent necropsy of this animal, named Macho B, are subject to an ongoing criminal investigation by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement and the U.S. Attorney's office in Tucson, Arizona.

"Our review of the FWS agents' documentation showed evidence linking an AZGFD subcontractor and possibly an AZGFD employee to criminal wrongdoing in the capture of Macho B. There was no evidence to suggest criminal involvement by any FWS or other Department of the Interior employees," the Inspector General's Office states in its report, issued Tuesday.

The Inspector General's report states, "In February 2009, the jaguar was captured in a leg-hold snare meant for mountain lions and black bears. The jaguar was identified as Macho B, fixed with a GPS tracking device, and set free. Within days after being released, the GPS collar indicated Macho B was not moving, so researchers decided to search for him. Once located, veterinarians determined that Macho B was suffering from renal (kidney) failure and euthanized him."

"We found that the AZGFD was aware of Macho B's presence in the vicinity of its mountain lion and black bear study in late December 2008 and January 2009, yet it did not consult with FWS, as required by the Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973. The ESA directs any nonfederal entity receiving federal funding to contact the appropriate local FWS office for a biological opinion when an endangered species stands the possibility of being accidentally captured," the report explains. The AZGFD issued a statement February 26, 2009 saying, "The male cat was incidentally captured Feb. 18 in an area southwest of Tucson during a research study aimed at monitoring habitat connectivity for mountain lions and black bears. It was the first capture and collaring of a wild jaguar in the United States."

EDIT

http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/jan2010/2010-01-22-091....
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derby378 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 12:39 PM
Response to Original message
1. NOT. HAPPY. AT. ALL.
Rest in peace, Macho B. This was no way for the last of your kind to die.
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amborin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 12:40 PM
Response to Original message
2. posted same article yesterday:
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Sans Culottes Donating Member (95 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 12:58 PM
Response to Original message
3. This enrages me.
Fuckers.
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The Backlash Cometh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 01:05 PM
Response to Original message
4. How did those people get that job in the first place?
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liberal N proud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 01:08 PM
Response to Original message
5. Man has so marred this land
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abqmufc Donating Member (590 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-27-10 03:32 AM
Response to Reply #5
16. the wonderful world of federal government contractors
AKA "good 'ol boy" network. Also never mind the fact government agencies don't communicate with each other on such matters.
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amborin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 02:33 PM
Response to Original message
6. write to them, or call: ask for designated habitat: preservation:
here is their reply to my email:

"Thank you for contacting us regrading critical habitat designation. I have forwarded you email to the FWS biologist who will be responsible for preparing a critical habitat proposal.


Jeff Humphrey
Public Outreach Specialist
Fish and Wildlife Service
2321 West Royal Palm Road, Suite 103
Phoenix, Arizona 85021
602-242-0210 ext. 222"

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Chulanowa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 02:47 PM
Response to Original message
7. Now, to play devil's advocate here...
A single male does not a population make. Especially a single male dying of kidney failure. There's clearly not a breeding population, and it was just this one cat.

In other words, nothing is actually lost by F&G euthanizing it. If it weren't a big photogenic animal, doubtful many people would even concern themselves with it.

Now if this cat had been a healthy female, or if there were evidence of a breeding population, then there would be a big problem. But as it stands, this cat was dying anyway, and there was no population aside from this lone individual anyway.
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malakai2 Donating Member (483 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 04:21 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. There isn't a breeding population currently, however...
Jaguar range has contracted severely on the north end of the historic range, and it's losing habitat throughout it's range. Currently the northernmost core breeding population is a couple hundred kilometers south in Mexico. Given the wording of the Endangered Species Act, and the requirements it lays out for federal agencies, there is a good argument to be made for designating some habitat in the US as critical to the recovery of the species.

Especially when the animal involved is an umbrella species...these big photogenic animals are often a vehicle for larger habitat protections.
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Chulanowa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 07:00 PM
Response to Reply #9
12. Quite aware
The trick is, there needs to be a jaguar population to protect. You can't just set up a big parcel of land and hope that some jaguars migrate in. Not that there's any problem with setting aside said land for any reason, but it would never pass the Bureaucracy.

And yeah, giving adequate habitat to an apex predator pretty much guarantees adequate habitat for everything below it on the food chain. Been reading up on this stuff from "Song of the Dodo"
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malakai2 Donating Member (483 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 09:00 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. A species doesn't need to be present to designate CH
The area designated needs to have all the primary constituent elements, and be essential to recovery of the species. Depending on which solicitor's opinions their basing the decision on, they could argue either way.

This would be as opposed to block clearing the area and attempting a reintroduction under a 10(j) non-essential experimental population, or a 10(A)1(a) scientific reintroduction, which would both involve more hoops and howls of protest. Much easier to do some cross border work to protect existing numbers, and establish CH to protect existing nearby habitat...they can't work toward recovering the species without growing the species' numbers.
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Chulanowa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 09:04 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. No, but getting such a declaration without the species present is difficult
Edited on Mon Jan-25-10 09:04 PM by Chulanowa
n/t
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malakai2 Donating Member (483 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 09:14 PM
Response to Reply #14
15. True
On the flipside, it's tougher for FWS to not make such an attempt when they're dealing with charismatic megafauna. Skip out on establishing any CH for a drab little sparrow or snake, and environmental groups generally don't file lawsuits because they can't get public opinion behind them. Try the same for something like the lynx, or jaguar in this case, and FWS ends up in an endless series of remands until they either make a bulletproof non-listing, or until they designate something.

I think in this case the long-term residence of a dispersing individual in apparently suitable habitat within the historic range makes it easier than it would be to establish grizzly bear CH in the San Juan Mountains or something similar.
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abqmufc Donating Member (590 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-27-10 03:36 AM
Response to Reply #14
17. similar to mexican wolf re-intro
population had to be brought in from Mexico and breed in captive to release in New Mexico. Not the example one wants to give (as the lobo has not been successful due location of reintroduction and proximity to ranchers).

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abqmufc Donating Member (590 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-27-10 03:44 AM
Response to Reply #9
18. This is the last KNOWN wild...NOT THE LAST WILD...
there is a difference.

I lived in Tucson from 1995 - 2003. I recall a story locally about a jaguar being caught on video (military/border patrol cameras near Sierra Vista, AZ). This was huge b/c it was the first jaguar to be caught on film on the U.S. side of the Sonoran desert.

My point, the recent death of the "last known wild" jaguar in the U.S. does not mean there are not 4 or 5 in the wild that are still unconfirmed by federal officials (meaning they are not radio collared).

Often we here of species being found after scientists thought they were extinct! I recall NPR running a story on a bird in the South that many felt was extent but someone has found a mating pair after several decades of no sitings.

Ask any hunter or tribal member in specific areas of the U.S. about wolves. Most scientists will say the wolf is void in most areas. But those that live in the woods and live off the woods will tell you the wolf still exists in areas we might not expect to find them.

Something to think about.
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amborin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 04:04 PM
Response to Original message
8. WTF? ny times op-ed blasts habitat protection for jaguars:
EARLIER this month, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service announced it would designate critical habitat for the endangered jaguar in the United States and take the first steps toward mandating a jaguar recovery plan. This is a policy reversal and, on the surface, it may appear to be a victory for the conservation community and for jaguars, the largest wild cats in the Western Hemisphere.

Skip to next paragraph
Enlarge This Image

Christopher Silas Neal

Related
Times Topics: Endangered and Extinct SpeciesBut as someone who has studied jaguars for nearly three decades, I can tell you it is nothing less than a slap in the face to good science. Whats more, by changing the rules for animal preservation, it stands to weaken the Endangered Species Act.

The debate on what to do about jaguars started in 1997, when, at the urging of many biologists (including me), the Fish and Wildlife Service put the jaguar on the United States endangered species list, because there had been occasional sightings of the cats crossing north over the United States-Mexico border. At the same time, however, the agency ruled that it would not be prudent to declare that the jaguar has critical habitat a geographic area containing features the species needs to survive in the United States. Determining an endangered species critical habitat is a first step toward developing a plan for helping that species recover.

The 1997 decision not to determine critical habitat for the jaguar was the right one, because even though they cross the border from time to time, jaguars dont occupy any territory in our country and that probably means the environment here is no longer ideal for them.

In prehistoric times, these beautiful cats inhabited significant areas of the western United States, but in the past 100 years, there have been few, if any, resident breeding populations here. The last time a female jaguar with a cub was sighted in this country was in the early 1900s. (Jaguars the worlds third-largest wild cats, weighing up to 250 pounds, with distinctive black rosettes on their fur are a separate species from the smaller, tawny mountain lions, which still roam large areas of the American West.)

Two well-intentioned conservation advocacy groups, the Center for Biological Diversity and Defenders of Wildlife, sued the Fish and Wildlife Service to change its ruling. Thus in 2006, the agency reassessed the situation and again determined that no areas in the United States met the definition of critical habitat for the jaguar. Despite occasional sightings, mostly within 40 miles of the Mexican border, there were still no data to indicate jaguars had taken up residence inside the United States.

snip

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/25/opinion/25rabinowitz....
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malakai2 Donating Member (483 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 04:40 PM
Response to Reply #8
10. I see what he's saying, but...
I still see the value in taking another look at riparian zones and dispersal corridors in the borderlands. If the area was recently suitable for a breeding population, animals still disperse to the area, and insufficient habitat exists elsewhere in the current range to attain recovery...that's why the concept of critical habitat exists in the first place. Especially with continuing habitat loss and poaching elsewhere in the current range.

He misreads the word "conserve" as it's defined in the Act. Under ESA, "conserve" means to bring a species back to the point at which listing is no longer warranted. Not simply to keep the population and current range where they are, which is why jaguars are endangered in the first place. Conserve = recover, unless we're operating under the Bush admin's rules, whereby conserve = "define the existing range as a discrete population segment and delist it, claiming victory to environmentalists and dominionists alike."
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amborin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 05:00 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. moreover, designating conservation areas will help more than
just the jaguar; it benefits many other species.
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