The New York Times reports that a criminal investigation is being opened to investigate the circumstances surrounding February’s capture of Macho B, the last known jaguar in the United States. Less than a month after his capture and subsequent release, Macho B was tranquilized and euthanized due to chronic kidney failure. This diagnosis was later called into question. A staff members at the Borderlands Jaguar Detection Project alleges that her supervisor instructed her to bait a leg-hold trap to attract Macho B. The jaguar has been photographed by motion detecting cameras many times, but the Project’s website curiously refers only to the number of photographs they have of jaguars, without confirming the number of individual jaguars they’ve photographed (based on other reports, one can presume they won’t be getting any more photos, now that Macho B is gone).
Jaguars have historically been present in the Southwestern U.S., but since they’ve been functionally fenced out of the country, I doubt we’ll be seeing many of them now. Beautiful, wasn’t he?