The first wild jaguar to be captured and fitted with a radio-collar in the United States -- and the only jaguar known to be living here -- was euthanized in Phoenix, AZ Monday night. The jaguar, "Macho B" was accidentally captured in an Arizona Game and Fish Department trap on February 18th and was recaptured and euthanized Monday after he was found to be suffering from kidney failure.
This is a terrible setback for the fragile population of northern jaguars that once ranged from the Bay Area of California to the Appalachian Mountains and now are so rare that only four have been photographed in the U.S. since 1996. Macho B was the oldest known jaguar in the wild, at an estimated 15 to 16 years.
It is unclear whether the stress from the repeated captures and sedation caused the weak kidney to fail. The Center for Biological Diversity is keeping a close eye on the post-mortem investigation to determine what caused the jaguar's death.
UPDATE: Dr. Dean Rice, the expert veterinarian who performed Macho B's autopsy, says the bungled capture and sedation of Macho B did contribute to his untimely death, according to The Center for Biological Diversity.