Monday, February 01, 2010

Debrief on Macho B

Our last couple of posts have been about the Inspector General report which found the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AGFD) and its subcontractor intentionally captured Macho B in violation of the Endangered Species Act. We're not surprised. Given AGFD's unfortunate ties to extractive interests (handing out 'habitat' money to ranchers, permitting ORVs, selling bighorn and killing predators to protect tag-worthy prey), the incompetence and perhaps malfeasance when it came to getting a collar on Macho B is par for the course.

But still.

Macho B was more than one of the last few jaguars to roam the borderlands. He was a integral part of keeping the land wild. He was big enough to munch on mountain lions and elusive enough that most people looking for him never caught a glimpse. He didn't cause any trouble; he kept to himself. Perhaps this was more mystery than managers could take- perhaps they needed to know where he went in order to maintain their dominance over all things. Perhaps they needed grant money and being able to track Macho B with a GPS collar made it easier to answer the questions funding would like to ask. Perhaps it was an ill-formed idea about stopping the border wall or, perhaps, it was a way of nodding acquiescence. The IG report didn't explain the whys, and all the blogosphere can do is speculate on the basis and rue the outcome.

But still.

Macho B had a name, a history, and a international fame. If we can't save Macho B from poor judgment and cover-your-ass obfuscation from the bureaucrats, how will we save anything?

This is why it is imperative that the USFWS bring charges against AGFD and its subcontractor- to send a message that, when it comes to recovering endangered species, there is a zero-tolerance policy on fucking up.

1 comment:

Eric said...

Very well put. When it comes to managing our wildlife and land, the state of Arizona does little other than fuck things up. The feds often give way to private interest in AZ land management (ranchers, off-road vehicles, etc), too, so they may be a bit wary of coming down to hard on AZ state agencies.