Green Guide

Wildlife officials: Tucson area bighorn herd re-established

Posted November 18

— Arizona wildlife officials say they have successfully re-established a herd of bighorn sheep in the Catalina Mountains north of Tucson.

With the bighorns thriving, no more mountain lions will be killed for preying on the sheep, officials told the Arizona Daily Star (http://bit.ly/2eNV41w ). Eight of the big cats have been killed since the reintroduction effort began in 2013, but the killings were controversial because the mountain lions were doing what predators must do in order to survive and feed their young.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department hired a specialist to "lethally remove" the mountain lions. That person's contract has lapsed and will not be renewed, Department spokesman Mark Hart said.

"It's our belief that with that additional number of animals we're going to be able to end the active pursuit of mountain lions," said Brian Dolan, a past president of the Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Society and a member of the advisory committee. "It's a fulfillment of a couple decades of my life."

Hart estimated that the bighorn population numbers 65 sheep. He said officials also plan to bring in 20 more sheep from Yuma next week.

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