U.S. District Court Judge Cindy K. Jorgenson has ruled that the Arizona Game and Fish Department held a valid endangered species permit, authorized by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in February 2009 when the jaguar Macho B was captured and collared south of Tucson.
Judge Jorgenson’s decision adopted an earlier report and recommendation by Magistrate Judge D. Thomas Ferraro who found Game and Fish's permit to be valid for "take" of an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act.
The court's most recent decision is part of a ruling arising from defendant Janay Brun’s request to dismiss the charges against her. Brun has been charged with violating the Endangered Species Act for her alleged involvement in the unlawful capture of the jaguar Macho B.
The court ruled that while the Game and Fish Department did have a valid permit, a jury will determine whether or not that permit covered Brun's actions. Procedures for authorizing the capture of a jaguar required approval from both the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's regional director and Game and Fish's director. The department reiterates that no one received that authorization.
A central figure in the Macho B incident, Emil McCain of Patagonia, pled guilty in U.S. District Court on May 14, 2010 for unlawfully taking a jaguar in violation of the Endangered Species Act. McCain's plea agreement detailed how he placed jaguar scat or directed another person to place jaguar scat at snare sites to intentionally capture a jaguar. Macho B was caught in one of those snare sites on Feb. 18, 2009.
Brun's trial is scheduled for April 12, 2011.