Desert bighorn sheep predator removed from southwestern Arizona

spectr17

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Desert bighorn sheep predator removed from southwestern Arizona

4/2/08

Yuma, Arizona -- On Saturday, officials with the Arizona Game and Fish Department killed a mountain lion in the Tank Mountains east of the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge as part of the ongoing effort to help restore the declining Kofa Mountains Complex desert bighorn sheep population, which was found to be at historic low numbers during the 2006 population survey.

The lion is the second to be removed under the department’s May 2007 “Kofa Mountains Complex Predation Management Plan,” and was confirmed as having killed four desert bighorn sheep and five mule deer since being captured and collared by the department in October. As was announced at the time, the first lion was killed in June at Dripping Springs northwest of the refuge, and was guarding a cache containing two desert bighorn sheep and a mule deer.

The Kofa herd was once one of the most robust herds in the nation and has been a critically important source of transplant sheep for restoring desert bighorn sheep to Arizona and other southwestern United States mountain ranges for 51 years. Transplants are currently suspended.

As announced in November 2006, wildlife experts attribute the decline to a variety of factors, including drought, predation, disease factors and human disturbance. At that time it was estimated that at least five lions were spending enough time in the area to be considered “resident” lions. This represents a significant change from the transient lion population that has been the historic norm for this part of Arizona.

More details, including copies of the predation management plan and the joint Arizona Game and Fish Department-U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service "Investigative Report and Recommendations for the Kofa Bighorn Sheep Herd" (April 17, 2007), are at the department’s Kofa Web site at www.azgfd.gov/kofa.

Media Contact:
Gary Hovatter (928) 341-4045 or (928) 581-1291 (cell) or ghovatter@azgfd.gov
 

richardoutwest

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Wow, the azgfd had to collar a mountain lion to see if it was killing big horn sheep and mule deer??
 

Duknutz

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Man,
Why did they have to kill it!!They could of darted it and let it go in California and it could of lived a robust(protected) life here.
 

RVRKNG

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They will suck this year, I bet even St Louis (Rams) beat them......LOL
 

Sigma

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It could have joined all the ones down in D16 and lived a happy life forever after.

It's no secret that UC Davis performed the world's most exhaustive study on lions in the area around Lake Cuyamaca: http://www.dateline.ucdavis.edu/printable_...&preview=no

Excerpt:

<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE </div>
There, in the Peninsular Ranges in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, an endangered population of fewer than 400 bighorn sheep was shrinking fast. Beginning in 1992, wildlife veterinarian and ecologist Walter Boyce, director of the UC Davis Wildlife Health Center, led the effort to find out why. Using novel investigative techniques, including DNA fingerprinting, Boyce and his graduate students discovered that disease was one key factor, but more important was predation: Of the 61 radio-collared sheep that died during the study, cougars killed 42.[/b]
 


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