Macho B collared!!!

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photo: Arizona Game and Fish Department

This is very exciting news and historic, too. For the first time ever a wild jaguar in the US is wearing a radio collar. The picture provided by the AZ Star (sometimes I can get in and other times it asks for a sign-in- sorry!) shows that it’s definitely Macho B, as you can see the famous Betty Boop spot pattern. I am trying to get some more info and will post it as I can.

I know the collaring of wild animals in general and an endangered jaguar in particular is controversial but I feel that unless there’s hard data to show where these cats roam there’s very little chance of anyone doing anything. We can all wish that bureaucrats will do the ecologically right thing, but we all know how that goes. One can hope that we will be able to show how his movements are impacted by human activity, the border wall, etc, etc. So here’s to loads of data and continued wanderings for Macho B. Viva El Tigre!

Here’s a link to a press release from the Center for Biological Diversity and one from the AZ Game and Fish Department.

Small update: Emil McCain wrote from Spain to say ” i am monitoring his movements right now on the wonderful http://www.” Technology is a cool thing, no?

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8 Responses to “Macho B collared!!!”

  1. Callia Green Says:

    My family lives in a place where there are several mountain lions (California) but this is AMAZING! Like having a bit of Africa in America. It is such a rare and precious gift to know that mankind has not managed to obliterate all of these beautiful creatures from the United States. Perhaps this is a lesson to those that don’t respect wildlife – we can still do things to protect them. Once the large mammals of prey are gone – we are gone too. We must do everything we can to protect them. We are not machines, we are alive – though many of us have forgotten this.

    It’s great that that the government must now pay more attention, but couldn’t they have designed a smaller collar? It looks like an impediment for an animal that needs more full free neck movement and range for lightning fast situations – like getting away from humans that might harm him. It also might get in the way when hunting prey.

    I know there are great benefits of having this collar – just thinking about how it could be improved.

    Long Live Macho B !

  2. swjags Says:

    Thanks for visiting, Callia. I agree that jaguars are a precious gift to be conserved and the fact that Macho B can now easily be located will only help those conservation efforts. As for the size of the collar, yes, it’s ugly and does ruin some of his aesthetic appeal (plus the fact that this is a GPS collar makes it a bit bulkier). But I do know that there are standards regarding the size/weight of collars in relation to the animal’s body size and I think most biologists would say that there’s no long-term disadvantage to collaring. But I agree, we should encourage all efforts to make tracking devices smaller and more inconspicuous (which I’m certain is the goal of that industry). Viva El Tigre!

  3. mmk Says:

    So how do you all feel now that he’s died? No long-term disadvantage to collaring? I’d say technology is a very uncool thing in this case.

    • swjags Says:

      Thanks for commenting, MMK. I think there’s a difference between the cause of Macho B’s death (kidney disease) and the fact that the collaring stressed his body. The collaring did not, wholly by itself, cause his death and to say otherwise is to deny the disease process present in a cat of his age.
      However, I do think that if he was still alive and providing data that proved, for example, what we all know, namely that the border wall is a biological nightmare, then the very people who are decrying collaring would be trumpeting that information. And I think they would be right in doing so, but the fact remains that we can’t save jags in the US by being passive and hoping for the best. There are too many forces of destruction and avarice who would despoil wild lands.
      I do think that a thorough review of the whole episode is warranted, just to make sure all procedures are as safe as possible. Maybe in the future 16 year old jags wouldn’t be collared, given what we now know. But I’d hate to see a turning away from science and inquiry in the name of “hands-off” management. Minimize the impact, yes, but do nothing? No.

  4. Callia Green Says:

    I agree with mmk. I think, as humans, we overstepped our bounds once again. Macho B didn’t have a family – if he did, perhaps restraining and collaring/tracking would have been warranted – but he was the only one and we screwed up and he’s gone now.

    The collaring wasn’t worth it. I think, if they carelessly poisoned his kidney, there’s no saying that he was injured from the collar as well. The whole restraining and collaring operation is now suspect to me. Whomever collared him and poisoned him in the process did NOT know what they were doing. If they didn’t care to make sure he wasn’t poisoned, then they probably didn’t care enough to see if the collar was comfortable or not. It looks very very painful to me.

  5. swjags Says:

    Thanks for visiting, Callia. I think everyone would agree that Macho B’s death was too high a price to pay. But no one expected that to happen and in hindsight I’m sure things would have been done differently. I don’t know that I would characterize their actions as “poisoning”, but there’s certainly a risk whenever you are using anesthesia. The collar was well within accepted parameters in relation to body weight, but that is small comfort when an animal dies.

    I think much of the discussion has to do w/ the way people see the world. Some are willing to take risks in the name of knowledge and others feel it’s not worth it, no matter the rewards. And striking a balance between the two is really hard to do. I personally feel that if we can learn from Macho B’s death then it will not have been for nothing. So maybe the next jaguar doesn’t get snared and doesn’t get collared if he or she is too old. One only hope that painful lessons will have positive results in the end.

  6. ultrasound technician schools Says:

    I know the collaring of wild animals in general and an endangered jaguar in particular is controversial but I feel that unless there’s hard data to show where these cats roam there’s very little chance of anyone doing anything. We can all wish that bureaucrats will do the ecologically right thing, but we all know how that goes. One can hope that we will be able to show how his movements are impacted by human activity, the border wall, etc..

    • swjags Says:

      I think we’d all agree in principle, but the death of an animal totally nullifies any information gathered. The welfare of the animal needs to come before any other considerations and should be uppermost in the minds of biologists, at least IMHO.

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