This web page includes joint updates from the Arizona Game and Fish Department and the Catalina Bighorn Advisory Committee on the Catalina Bighorn Sheep Reintroduction Project.
The goal of the project is to establish a self-sustaining population of bighorn sheep in the Catalina Mountains that coexists with resident predators without administrative intervention. Bighorn sheep are being reintroduced because the Catalina Mountains are a part of their historical range; the project is trying to restore them to a natural ecosystem that they were an important part of for thousands of years. As long as one of its key pieces—bighorn sheep--is missing, the ecosystem is in some ways incomplete.
Questions and Answers about the Project
- The Arizona Game and Fish Department confirmed a bighorn sheep ewe (ID#37) mortality on Sunday, March 2, in the Santa Catalina Mountains. The cause of death was confirmed to be a mountain lion, which was administratively removed Monday, March 3. This sheep was a member of our largest group of sheep which has since scattered. The lion was trailed directly from the sheep carcass and taken within a ½ mile of the kill site. This 7-9 year old male lion is believed to have killed up to three other collared sheep because of the size of the track as well as the timing and proximity to recent sheep deaths.
In addition, Game and Fish confirmed a bighorn sheep ram (ID#58) mortality on Tuesday, March 4. The cause of death is currently under investigation.
- The Arizona Game and Fish Department confirmed a bighorn sheep mortality Friday, Feb. 21, in the Santa Catalina Mountains. The cause of death for the ram was determined to be predation by a mountain lion.
- On Tuesday, Feb. 18, Arizona Game and Fish Department observed the third bighorn sheep lamb this season in the Santa Catalina Mountains.
- The Arizona Game and Fish Department confirmed a bighorn sheep mortality Tuesday, Feb. 18, in the Santa Catalina Mountains. The ram's cause of death is under investigation.
Project Status Updates
Catalina Bighorn Advisory Committee
Visit the Committee’s website
Forest Service updates bighorn sheep management area map; Restrictions remain in effect (Forest Service news release from Jan. 24, 2014)
Game and Fish Director Larry Voyles’ op-ed column in the Arizona Republic and on azcentral.com, Dec. 27, 2013
Advisory Committee's op-ed column in the Arizona Daily Star, July 5, 2013
Initial press release about the project, May 29, 2013
You can also learn more by visiting Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/azgafd#!/CatalinaBighorns