Arizona Game and FIsh Department - Managing Today for Wildlife Tomorrow: Arizona Game and Fish Department

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Inside AZGFD
Where We Stand

The Arizona Game and Fish Department is accountable to the citizens of Arizona for actively managing this situation using the best science available.  To the extent it existed, the pure and pristine balance of nature ended with the arrival of the first human beings on the continent of North America.  Since that time, the human impact on wildlife, even in prehistoric times, has far too often been detrimental, even to the point of wildlife population or species extinction.  The early 20th century ascendancy of the North American Model of science-based wildlife management has placed a value on wildlife that has enabled, albeit often imperfectly, the balancing of human needs and development with wildlife needs.  Specific to the Kofa situation, the essential components of active management include:

  • The Kofa NWR is critical and essential to the health of desert bighorn sheep in the southwestern United States. Recovery and sustainment of that species should be the priority in management decisions.
  • Transplanting of desert bighorn sheep is essential to the restoration of desert bighorn in area from which they have been extirpated and to the sustainment of existing populations outside the Kofa NWR.
  • Kofa NWR waters identified as critical to bighorn sheep should not be allowed to go dry.  Water hauling necessary to keep critical catchments from going dry should be an accepted technique for managing waters within wilderness components of the Kofa NWR.
  • The priority for water development should be to use the best designs available to build and redevelop the most efficient and effective water catchments possible at those sites most critical to desert bighorn sheep on the Kofa NWR.
  • Efficiently designed waters rarely go dry and such waters minimize water hauling and other associated intrusions into wilderness.
  • Resident mountain lions on the Kofa NWR are a recent and historically unprecedented phenomena.  The Kofa NWR is neither critical nor essential to the health of the Arizona mountain lion population.

  • Mountain Lions on the Kofa NWR should be managed to the extent necessary to recover the desert bighorn sheep population to a target number of 800 through the removal of “offending” mountain lions, i.e., those that focus predatory activity on bighorn sheep.  Lion eradication is not a management objective.
  • The sub-species designation of the so-called “Yuma Puma” (Felis concolor brownii) has been compellingly discredited by modern mitochondrial DNA analysis


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