30 Animals Returned To Historic Habitat

Bighorn Sheep Relocated Thirty bighorn sheep are calling Payson their home once again thanks to the special care of Arizona’s Game and Fish Department. The department said on Tuesday...

Bighorn Sheep Relocated

Thirty bighorn sheep are calling Payson their home once again thanks to the special care of Arizona’s Game and Fish Department.

The department said on Tuesday that dozens of the animals are being taken to traditional range areas, with wildlife workers drawing from robust populations of desert bighorns in the Silver Bell Mountains northwest of Tucson and Rocky Mountain bighorns near Morenci, a mining town.

The department produced a video showing desert bighorns running across the cactus studded landscape after being release in the Picacho Mountains.

Dozens of support staff and volunteers partnered with Game and Fish as well as Freeport-McMoran mining, the U.S. Forest Service Apache-Sitgreaves and Coconino National Forests, State Land Department, the Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Society, the federal Bureau of Land Management, the Central Arizona Project and landowners.

April 2018’s Tinder Fire engulfed more than 16,300 acres close to the release site. Something good is now coming from the forest devastation. An opportunity for vast vegetation regrowth which will provide improved habitat conditions for these beautiful creatures.

Another 30 sheep were relocated from Morenci to just north of Payson.

AZGFD say establishing sub-populations of the sheep away from the larger herds could help in the case of a disease outbreak.

Each sheep was given an ear tag. While some were fitted with GPS collars for tracking purposes.

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