On March 2, 2009, Macho B, quite possibly the last wild free-roaming jaguar in the United States died at the hands of man. He was not killed by a trophy hunter desiring another wall mount, or a beautiful spotted pelt as a floor rug; nor was he killed by a rancher seeking to protect his livestock investment from this most powerful of American predators. Instead, Macho B’s death was directly brought about by the Arizona Game and Fish Department (hereafter AZGFD) with the full blessing and support of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – the very two governmental agencies charged to protect this animal and to insure his safety and well-being under the Endangered Species Act.
The killing of Macho B offers a classic case study as to how western society and its stepchild, western science, view and exploit the natural world and other living entities. It is a story of arrogance and dominance, of reckless and self-centered behavior, of misrepresentation and denial, and now it is also a story of a federal criminal investigation. But most importantly, the Macho B tragedy tells us we must change our fundamental views about the natural world and our place in it. The time has come for us to reexamine our current values and belief system, and to rewrite our policies and procedures to incorporate another more respectful and appropriate view of our fellow non-human beings with who we share the Earth. The alternative world view I am proposing is one that goes back to time immemorial, that of traditional Native America.
This essay hopes to accomplish two purposes: First, to provide a critical philosophical and factual analysis of the events which led to the death of Macho B, and secondly to provide a contrasting Indigenous views of the natural world and these relate to the Macho B story.