The State Game and Fish Department has ordered a formal investigation into the Feb. 18 capture of a jaguar after receiving what it said was new information concerning events surrounding that capture.
In a press release issued late Tuesday, Larry Voyles, the department’s director, announced the investigation into the capture of the jaguar known as Macho B. Game and Fish officials have said that Macho B was captured inadvertently as part of a bear-mountain lion research project southwest of Tucson. The jaguar was recaptured on March 2nd after his movements slowed dramatically, according to Game and Fish satellite tracking data.
He was euthanized at the Phoenix Zoo later that day after zoo officials determined he had irreversible kidney failure -- a diagnosis that has since come into question, due to a University of Arizona veterinary diagnostic laboratory report that said its examination of tissue samples found no sign of kidney failure. Two other outside reviews of the tissue samples are also due to be conducted.
“This agency is committed to a thorough review of all facts and circumstances related to the original capture,” said Voyles in Tuesday’s press release announcing the investigation. “The department’s investigative protocol requires careful protection of relevant information pending an outcome, but once the process concludes, we will disclose information to the extent allowable by law.”
The department has told the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service of the latest information.
"The department has briefed me on the information it received today, and we fully support the department’s decision to investigate this matter,” Dr. Benjamin Tuggle, regional director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s southwest region, was quoted as saying in the Game and Fish press release.