Bighorn sheep returned to Catalinas

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - A part of history is making its return to the Santa Catalina Mountains.

Bighorn sheep are being released into the area as a reintroduction effort.  The sheep are a symbol of the area and roamed the Catalinas until the 1990s.

31 bighorn sheep are expected to head for higher ground after their release.

Arizona Game and Fish captured the sheep in Yuma over the weekend, where officials say the bighorn population has dwindled because of drought, predators, disease and people.

Game and Fish officials say the area where the sheep will be released in the Catalinas, is more controlled.  They will be able to monitor how often mountain lions kill the sheep and that will help determine how successful this effort is.

There will be more releases in the next two years, to follow up with the goal of having 100 bighorn sheep released in the area within the next three years.

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