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.
Tenth and Eleventh Lamb Confirmed!
On February 18th, 2015, an Arizona Game and Fish Department biologist confirmed the eleventh lamb born this season. The ewe, captured on the Tonto National Forest in November 2014, and her lamb were observed from a long distance using optics to minimize disturbance.
On February 17th, 2015, an Arizona Game and Fish Department biologist confirmed the tenth lamb born this season. The ewe, captured on the Tonto National Forest in November 2014, and her newborn lamb were observed from a long distance using optics to minimize disturbance.
We believe that there may be more lambs and we will be working to confirm this over the next few months. These additions are encouraging, and although lamb survivorship is generally low, we are optimistic that this will be beneficial in establishing a sustainable bighorn sheep herd in the Catalina Mountains. This is a good reminder for hikers and recreationists to stay on designated trails, maintain a good distance away from sheep, and to never take dogs into the Bighorn Sheep Management Area. The addition of lambs is critical to the establishment of the herd and their survival could be jeopardized by human-caused disturbance.
An ewe released in 2014 from the Plomosa
Mountains with her lamb documented earlier
Ewe captured in the Plomosa Mountains this
past fall; she is expecting any day now.
Summary Table of Bighorn Sheep Translocation Efforts in Arizona Click hereto see a table of bighorn sheep translocation efforts in Arizona, showing repatriation areas, translocation years, number of bighorn sheep moved, and time elapsed until each population was considered established.
“Bighorn sheep project needs patience but moves in right direction,” an op-ed from the Arizona Daily Star, May 8, 2014, written by three members of the Catalina Bighorn Advisory Committee (Randy Serraglio from the Center for Biological Diversity; Mike Quigley of The Wilderness Society; and Brian Dolan of the Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Society)
View video of a desert bighorn sheep ewe in the Santa Catalina Mountains, observed by Arizona Game and Fish Department biologists.
View video of a bighorn ram near ewes in the Santa Catalina Mountains.
View meeting materials from the Catalina Bighorn Advisory Committee provided on Nov. 6, 2014 as a result of a public records request. The records include attendance lists, agendas, meeting minutes and informal personal notes from the meetings. View public records.