Death of Last US Jaguar Sparks Inquiry

Case rife with finger-pointing among Ariz. wildlife officials
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 5, 2009 11:50 AM CDT
A collared jaguar nicknamed Macho B is seen in this February 2009 photo provided by the Arizona Game and Fish Department.   (AP Photo/Arizona Game and Fish Department)
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(Newser) – Amidst a federal probe, the mysterious death of America’s last known jaguar is turning into a big cat fight, the New York Times reports. Arizona wildlife officials say they mistakenly trapped Macho B in a leg-hold snare and found him to be healthy. But a conservationist working with the group said they intentionally caught the 16-year-old animal—which experts had warned against.

Wildlife personnel recaptured the jaguar last month after noticing strange behavior. They diagnosed irreversible kidney failure and later euthanized the jaguar. But some experts, questioning the diagnosis, say that decision was too hasty, Discovery News reports. “All of the critical evidence is missing,” said one veterinarian. Once ubiquitous, jaguars have been decimated by a century of hunting.