The Arizona Game and Fish Department is at the center of a legal debate over the death of a jaguar back in March.
A lawsuit, filed by the Center for Biological Diversity in federal court in Tucson this morning, alleges that the department doesn't have the authority to trap jaguars.
In February, Game and Fish trapped and tagged a jaguar named "Macho B," as part of an effort to track the migration patterns of mountain lions and other animals near the Mexico-Arizona border.
It was released back into the wild until March, when they recaptured the jaguar and determined it was suffering kidney failure.
That was the end of the road for "Macho" and he was euthanized.
As medical records later showed, "Macho B," who happened to be the last known wild Jaguar in the United States, was more likely dehydrated than suffering kidney failure, and giving the animal a little water probably would have done the trick.
The CBD claims that under the Federal Endangered Species Act, Game and Fish has no authority to trap, kill, or "harass" any animal considered to be endangered.
"Our suit is necessary to protect any jaguars currently in Arizona and those that we hope will live in the state in the future," says Michael Robinson of the Center. "Arizona Game and Fish Department's ongoing and planned actions put such animals at risk."
Tom Cadden, spokesman for the Game and Fish, says while authorities within the department have heard about the lawsuit, they haven't been served with court papers.
Considering the organization is now the focus of a federal lawsuit, Cadden declined to comment further.
Authorized to catch jaguars or not, if G and F can't tell the difference between kidney failure and thirst, maybe it should focus exclusively on fish for awhile.
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