Bighorns Return to Catalinas

March 4 was a day to see bighorn sheep. At Westward Look Wyndham Grand Resort and Spa, scopes were set up by the Arizona Fish and Game Department to see sheep. We didn’t see any because it was too windy and they usually stay on the other side of Santa Catalina Mountains. 

In Arizona, there are about 6,000 bighorn sheep. Translocations were done to get bighorns to our mountains. There are many reasons why bighorns disappeared in the 1990s. It could have been that people were building too close to their habitat, or drought, or disease or even the lack of wildfires. 

In November 2013, Arizona Fish and Game brought back bighorn sheep. It took two days to capture 34 sheep in Yuma. While being transported, they had to be kept cool and were checked on by veterinarians. At the start, the sheep were being killed by mountain lions, and some mountain lions were killed to limit their impact on the herd. Protesters filled Oro Valley because they didn’t think it’s right to kill animals for doing what’s natural to them. This year 13 lambs were born. They tried to track newly released bighorns, but most collars fell off. In the future, we will see bighorn sheep in Tucson!       

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