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Jaguar recaptured in Arizona due to health concerns

March 2, 2009 |  3:47 pm

Macho B after his collaring and release.

*Update: Jaguar has been euthanized. Please see most recent post

Macho B, the jaguar recently captured, collared and released in southern Arizona, has been recaptured after wildlife officials determined that the animal's health may be in jeopardy.

Monitoring of recent data transmitted from the satellite tracking collar showed that the jaguar has had a reduced pattern of movement than previously noted.

"We have been monitoring Macho B's movements continuously since the initial capture. While he was still moving around, we noticed a decreased level of activity over the weekend that warranted further investigation," said Bill Van Pelt, Arizona Game and Fish Department birds and mammals program manager.

Department biologists and a wildlife veterinarian were deployed Sunday to locate the cat but were unsuccessful in capturing him again until today.  He has been transported to the Phoenix Zoo for medical assessment and care.

When observed in the field, Macho B seemed to have an abnormal gait and also appeared to have lost weight. Biologists have been concerned with Macho B's age; he is believed to be the oldest known jaguar in the wild at an estimated 15 or 16 years old.

"We had a rare opportunity to collect priceless data on a species we know little about. Now it is incumbent upon us to do all we can to aid this animal," added Van Pelt, who is also a member of the Jaguar Conservation Team, a state-led program for protecting and conserving jaguars in the United States.

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: Macho B after his collaring and release. Credit: Arizona Game and Fish Department