The following letters are in response to the Oct. 18 article "Jaguar team ceases work amid disputes, big cat's death."

Star shouldn't have jaguar research data

I would like to request that the Star and its reporters stop trying to be biologists and start doing their job as non-biased journalists. I tried to ignore the explosion of negative publicity when Macho B died because it broke my heart when he died.

Now with the Star crying because it can't get its hands on all the "raw data," I had to say something. Due to the very sensitive nature of jaguar research, some things must be kept out of "everyone's" hands to protect the integrity of the species.

That same data would be as good as a treasure map for the poachers and those in opposition to jaguar conservation, being more detrimental than anything else to these animals.

Let the conservationists and biologists do their job.

Lauren Hohl

Education assistant, Tucson

US recovery programs help at-risk species

Terry Johnson of the Arizona Game and Fish Department presents a false dichotomy between federal programs for endangered wildlife and cooperative conservation among stakeholders by characterizing federal protection as a "regulatory burden of bureaucracy and all of the stuff that comes with it."

As Johnson well knows, U.S. recovery programs have greatly benefited endangered species in Arizona and throughout the country without harsh regulation.

Johnson's argument that "freedom-loving" Americans oppose regulations to protect their wildlife is an insult to patriotic conservationists. The failure of the state's Jaguar Conservation Team, under his watch for more than a decade, is plainly evident. Arizona needs a U.S. recovery program for the jaguar.

If Johnson cannot refrain from bad-mouthing federal programs for endangered species, he should step down from his position at Game and Fish.

Tony Povilitis

Wildlife biologist, Willcox

AGFD does little to preserve the jaguar

After a decade, the Arizona Game and Fish Department and its Jaguar Conservation Team have achieved little more than notoriety over the capture-related death of Macho B.

The department should disband the team and instead support a strong federal recovery plan for the jaguar.

Recovery programs have helped the Sonoran pronghorn, Mexican wolf, the California condor and many other endangered species in Arizona and across the nation.

These programs have broad public support and rarely, if ever, affect ranchers' use of their property.

Terry Johnson, the Game and Fish official who presides over the jaguar team, raises a red herring with his "regulatory burden" argument against a jaguar recovery plan.

His comments promote ignorance and fear and are not at all helpful in bringing people together to conserve the jaguar.

C. Dustin Becker

Biologist and educator, Willcox