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Jaguar Macho B's capture may have hastened his death

March 5, 2009 |  3:48 pm

Macho B, the jaguar captured and released after having a tracking collar fitted to his neck.

One of the two veterinarians who performed the necropsy on Macho B, the jaguar captured in Arizona last month, believes that the tranquilizing and stress from the ordeal contributed to the cat's health issues that led to the subsequent decision to euthanize him.

In an interview published in the Arizona Daily Star, Dr. Dean Rice, Phoenix Zoo executive vice president and one of the doctors performing the necropsy, said that while Macho B likely had kidney deterioration prior to being captured and tranquilized, the stress of the trapping probably exacerbated the problem.

"I'm sure the kidneys were going bad for some time. Kidneys don't go bad at the snap of a finger," Rice said. "If you sedate someone with drugs and the kidneys aren't working, the sedative can have a negative effect. My guess is that sedation probably aggravated his kidneys."

The jaguar was captured, collared and released in Arizona last month, only to be recaptured shortly thereafter when wildlife officials determined that the animal's health might have been in jeopardy, as data transmitted from the tracking collar showed a reduced pattern of movement. He was euthanized on the day he was recaptured after veterinarians determined that he was in severe and unrecoverable kidney failure, a common ailment in older cats.

Results of the necropsy are still pending, awaiting analysis of tissue samples taken from the dead animal. It is hoped that at least it will be determined how long Macho B had kidney problems before  his demise.

Rice did not criticize the Arizona Game and Fish Department personnel for their actions in capturing the jaguar, adding that there were no indications that the cat had any health issues.

"I'm glad they collared him," Rice added. "Otherwise he would have just gone off and died somewhere on his own."

--Kelly Burgess

Photo: Macho B, the jaguar captured and released after having a tracking collar fitted to his neck. Credit: Arizona Game and Fish Department