Feds Drop Charges Against Captor of "Macho B," Last Known Wild Jaguar in Country Killed in Captivity

Charges against an Arivaca woman who admitted to violations of the Endangered Species Act for her role in the death of "Macho B," the nation's last known wild jaguar, will be dropped -- as long as she stays out of jaguar or large-cat studies for a year and does not violate any laws.

Initially, Janay Brun, 39, faced up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine for the prohibited "take" of "Macho B."

"I am pleased with this agreement because Ms. Brun has been cooperative with our investigation, and now she has admitted under oath her involvement in the capture of the jaguar Macho B," U.S. Attorney Dennis K. Burke says in a statement.

Last May, big-cat researcher Emil McCain, a biologist working for the Borderlands Jaguar Detection Project, admitted that in February 2009, he illegally placed a jaguar scat in the Atascosa Mountains near Ruby and directed a woman to place jaguar scats at sites that were authorized to snare only mountain lions and bears. McCain was sentenced to five years on probation.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Brun knew the jaguar was in the area because photos of the endangered cat had been taken there in the weeks leading up to its capture. They say she set the traps anyway.

Brun, federal prosecutors say, had no authorization to trap the cat.

Macho was released back into the wilderness after his initial capture but was recaptured about a month later. It was then determined that the cat was suffering kidney failure.

That was the end of the road for "Macho," and he was euthanized.

As medical records later showed, "Macho" was more likely dehydrated than suffering kidney failure, and giving the animal a little water probably would have done the trick.

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