Feds Allege Crime In Wild Jaguar Death

This undated photo provided by the Denver Zoo shows a jaguar named Jorge. A zookeeper at the Denver Zoo died Saturday, Feb. 24, 2007, after Jorge mauled her in its enclosure, and the big cat was fatally shot when it approached emergency workers treating the injured woman, the zoo said. (AP Photo/Denver Zoo) ** AP Photo/Denver Zoo

Investigators say a contractor and possibly an Arizona Game and Fish Department employee acted criminally in the death of what was believed to be the last living wild jaguar in Arizona.

The allegation is in a federal report obtained Thursday by The Associated Press.

The state says the male jaguar known as "Macho B" was unexpectedly caught in February in a snare trap. Officials attached a tracking collar and released him.

Two weeks later, researchers tracking the cat found he was acting abnormally and recaptured him. Veterinarians found that Macho B was in renal failure, determined the condition was irreversible and euthanized him.

The report says there is evidence the first capture was probably intentional and violated the Endangered Species Act. The Game and Fish Department said Thursday it didn't direct any employee or contractor to capture a jaguar. It says it's cooperating with the investigation and conducting an internal probe.
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