For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 

Michael Robinson, (575) 534-0360

Feds Issue Permit to "Take" Jaguar and Ocelot: Arizona Game Department Allowed to Kill More Endangered Felines

TUSCON, AZ - The Center for Biological Diversity has learned that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a permit on June 14 to the Arizona Game and Fish Department allowing the state agency to “take” jaguars and ocelots,
which can include killing, injuring or otherwise harming the rare
felines. The permit was issued 15 months after Arizona Game and Fish
killed the last known jaguar in the United States, an animal called
Macho B.

“The Fish and Wildlife Service is
legalizing what an Arizona Game and Fish contractor did illegally in
2009,” said Michael Robinson of the Center. “Both agencies are back to
denying science and pretending that jaguars and ocelots are disposable.”

The new permit, issued June 14, authorizes intentional capture of both
a jaguar and an ocelot to affix a radio collar, as well as
unintentional take of both species in the course of seeking to capture
other animals. The permit requires submission of plans to minimize the
likelihood that jaguars or ocelots will be injured or killed. The plan
for intentional take must be reviewed by the respective recovery teams
for each species; a jaguar recovery team has not yet been appointed but
will be as a result of a Center lawsuit. But in planning for the
possibility of an unintentional jaguar capture, the Jaguar Conservation
Team — an interagency group chaired by Arizona Game and Fish — could
approve standards even before a recovery team is appointed.

Jaguar Conservation Team served as a cheerleader for capture of jaguars
before Macho B’s sad and unnecessary death,” said Robinson. “It would
be a mistake to let this group watchdog Arizona Game and Fish.”

September 2009, the Center sued Game and Fish based on the threat of
future unpermitted jaguar captures. Despite this suit and an
investigation by the Interior Department’s inspector general that found
the state agency lacked the necessary permits to capture jaguars, the
agency has maintained that it does not need a permit to take additional
jaguars. This untenable position is now superseded by issuance of the
new permit.

“Jaguars and ocelots help maintain the
balance of southwestern wildlands,” said Robinson. “These beautiful and
very rare animals deserve much more consideration and protection from
the federal and state agencies that should be their guardians.”


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