Jaguar justice

Federal officials investigate death of captured cat

The death of what could very well have been America’s last wild jaguar is being investigated by the federal government.

Macho B (pictured), the elderly male jaguar that was captured and euthanized last month at an Arizona zoo, may have been illegally baited and trapped, reported The New York Times.

Just weeks before the animal was put to sleep, the Arizona Game and Fish Department had snared, tranquilized and fit him with a radio collar to track his movement in southern portions of the state. At the time, the 118-pound cat was described as healthy.

Conservationists had warned the department against capturing the cat, which was estimated to be 16 years old.

The department maintains the snare was actually intended to trap other animals, but that contention is looking sketchy; a woman working closely with a biologist hired by the department claims she was ordered to place female jaguar scat near the snare.