PHOENIX – The Arizona Game and Fish Department on March 8 formally placed one of its employees on administrative leave with pay as a result of an interim finding in the department’s ongoing internal administrative investigation into the events surrounding last year’s capture of the jaguar known as Macho B.
The department took this action based on statements made by the employee during the course of the internal investigation, bringing about a need to consider taking administrative action to resolve concerns raised by the statements.
Under state personnel rules, placing an employee on paid administrative leave relieves the employee of duties, pending a determination on what final administrative action may be taken.
Department officials said the employee’s statements were related to the employee’s actions taken several weeks after the capture, recapture and euthanization of Macho B. The department continues to maintain that it did not direct any department employee to capture a jaguar, and that the department’s actions related to the capture were lawful.
Department officials added that the Game and Fish internal investigation cannot be considered completed until the department has an opportunity to review whatever findings may come out of a concurrent federal investigation being conducted by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
Information about events related to Macho B can be found at www.azgfd.gov/MachoB.