January 28, 2008, Kofa Website Situation Update
[Please see archived updates for additional background]
- The next annual survey will be conducted in the fall of 2008. Results of the 2007 survey are available in the December 2007 update.
- The late January rains contributed another inch or more of rain to that received in late November and early December. Water and forage conditions are good across the refuge.
- Three additional big game kills were confirmed in January for KM03, the large adult male mountain lion captured in the western Kofa Mountains on October 21: A mule deer buck killed east of the refuge in early January, an adult desert bighorn sheep in the Tank Mountains area (also east of the refuge) in mid-January, and another mule deer buck in the eastern Kofa Mountains of the refuge over the January 28 weekend.
Cache site for mature desert bighorn ram killed by mountain
lion KM03, Tank Mountains, January 2008
- This brings the total confirmed big game kills for this lion to six: five mule deer and one desert bighorn sheep. Due to the intermittent nature of the data feed from this lion’s GPS collar (a function of limited satellite availability and the lion’s activity patterns), there are likely some kills that have not been discovered. As with the two previous collared lions, possible additional kills will be investigated when the collar is ultimately recovered and all data downloaded from it.
Drag marks left by mountain lion KM03 in the Tank Mountains, January 2008. KM03 dragged a mature desert bighorn sheep ram almost 100 yards from the kill site to a cache under the nearest Palo Verde tree.
- Efforts to capture and collar additional lions continues.
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service remains in the early stages of developing a mountain lion management plan for the Kofa NWR. This plan will undergo a full environmental compliance process, to include all associated public review.
- No transplants are planned for the Kofa NWR herd. The last transplants from this herd occurred in 2005 when 30 Kofa bighorn were collected and sent to the San Andres NWR in New Mexico to sustain that herd.
Recreational Impact on Bighorn Habitat:
- The 2007 desert bighorn sheep ram hunting season (only rams are hunted) ran December 1-31. The season included 12 tags (10 from refuge Game Management Units and two from a GMU that includes a small section of land in the northern part of the refuge) that could have been filled on Kofa refuge land, the lowest number of tags issued for the refuge since 1981. Of these, 10 rams were harvested from the refuge GMUs.
- The annual auction tag (auctioned annually to generate funds for bighorn sheep management) for an Arizona bighorn sheep can be used in any legal bighorn hunting area in the state, which includes the Kofa NWR. The tag (which would constitute a 13th tag) was not filled on the refuge in 2007.
Research and Monitoring
- As of January 28, there had been no mortalities among the 30 bighorn ewes captured and collared in November as part of a nutrition study, and a predation monitoring and management program.
Litigation on Kofa NWR Wildlife Waters: