The following letters are in response to the March 3 article "Officials euthanize AZ jaguar; he was ill."

Jaguar's capture, killing was appalling

As one who has been part of the effort to monitor and research jaguars in Southern Arizona and to educate the public about the presence of these amazing big cats, I am saddened and outraged by the capture and killing of Macho B.

Arizona Game and Fish and its allies on the Jaguar Conservation Team have been pressing for at least two years to capture and radio-collar the one jaguar we know to be a permanent resident. "Macho B" has been around for more than a decade, and some of us opposed the capture-and-collar plan of our sole resident on the grounds that it was too risky and that there really was never a plan in place as to what scientific value might justify that risk. Now the jaguar has been captured, stressed, drugged, radio-collared, drugged again, recaptured and killed.

I can't help but wonder which bureaucrat with a big-game-hunter mentality will get the trophy.

Albert Vetere Lannon

Picture Rocks

Wild creatures are worth more

Despite the constant drumbeat of bad news on the economy and worries for employment and family, what brought me to tears this morning was the word that Macho B was dead.

Instead of a natural death in the oak woodlands of Southern Arizona, he died in captivity, the antithesis of his life. It may have been the humane thing, that he end his life as many of us end ours — in a sterile, clinical setting. And as a scientist, I understand the need to gather information, which in this case may have triggered his sudden decline.

Yet I resent that science had to be brought to bear on an issue that seems so obvious. A wild, exotic, beautiful thing like a jaguar roaming our wild lands is worth more than development, ranching, mining or homeland security can ever provide.

Roger Barthelson

Research biologist, Tucson

State, federal agencies have done a disservice

The responsibility for the death of Macho B lies directly in the lap of Arizona Game and Fish and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Arizona Game and Fish has had a long history of carrying out anti-predator programs (witness their recent support of the predator shoot-em-up at Globe). The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has also failed to develop a long-term recovery plan for the jaguar in the United States.

The construction of pedestrian fencing along the border in the past year by Homeland Security has contributed to the fragmentation of jaguar's and other species' habitat. Promised funds from Homeland Security to mitigate adverse impacts to the jaguar and other species have not materialized and likely will not. I wonder if Jack Childs will have any more jaguars to photograph.

Shame on you Arizona Game and Fish and U.S. Fish and Wildlife.

Peter L. Steere

Environmentalist, Sells

Let nature take its course

As a native of Tucson, I was disturbed to read this article.

Since when does the Game and Fish Department choose who lives and who dies in the animal kingdom based on the animal's health — rabies and infectious disease aside? Why not let nature take its course?

Laura Caywood Barker

Williamsburg, Va.

Someone must be held responsible

The sad destruction of the magnificent jaguar, Macho B, by the Game and Fish Department is another example of unnecessary and incompetent government interference in the lives of people, wildlife and the environment.

I hope someone will be held accountable and suffer punishment because a private citizen found responsible for contributing to the demise of the cat would have had the book thrown at him.

Edward A Marue

Management consultant, Tucson