TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The first lambs believed to have been born to the newly released bighorn sheep have been spotted, according Arizona Game and Fish.
They were first seen in the Santa Catalina Pusch Ridge Wilderness area last week. AZ Game and Fish officials report the two healthy lambs were seen from a distance by an AZ Game and Fish biologist, sticking close to their mothers – ewes that were among the 31 bighorn sheep released in November, 2013.
"This is another important milestone in the Santa Catalina Bighorn Sheep Restoration Project," said Regional Supervisor Raul Vega of Game and Fish in Tucson, in a recent release. "Our goal is to restore a healthy, viable and self-sustaining population of desert bighorn sheep to the range that coexists with an equally healthy native predator population in a naturally functioning ecosystem."
Volunteers and trailhead notices are being used to remind hikers of the potential adverse impacts to the sheep caused by dogs or by hiking more than 400 feet off-trail within the bighorn sheep recovery area during lambing season. For additional information, please visit the U.S. Forest Service webpage at www.fs.usda.gov/coronado/.
"These little lambs are the first Catalina-born desert bighorn sheep in nearly 25 years," said Mike Quigley, with The Wilderness Society and member of the projects advisory committee. "This used to be a common event and hopefully will be again."