A fisherman off the coast of Bonita Springs, Florida thinks he has a pretty nice catch. As he reels in a four-foot shark, his catch is stolen by an even bigger fish. A massive grouper pulls the shark
A massive grouper steals a four-foot shark from a fisherman's line off the coast of Florida.
As Game and Fish officials digest the loss of the 12th Bighorn
sheep in the Catalina mountains, they are also celebrating the birth of another
To date, three lambs have been spotted in the mountains.
Game and Fish officials said they were unable to track the mountain lion that
killed the sheep, as some time had passed, and the trail had gone cold.
The group Friends of Wild Animals formed after two mountain lions
were killed for attacking the sheep.
Since November, 12 sheep have died most of them eaten by predators
like mountain lions. Now those against the re-introduction program are
concerned about how Game and Fish officials are hoping to track the remaining
sheep in the mountains.
Mark Hart, a spokesman for the Arizona Game & Fish office in Tucson
said they had applied for a permit to fly helicopters over the Pusch Ridge
mountains last April.
Protesters said that was a violation of the Wilderness Act,
although if officials are able to get the permit, they would be exempt from
following the act.
"There can be no mechanized activity in the wilderness per
federal law, unless we can secure the permit. If in the course of doing
helicopter monitoring of Bighorn Sheep we cross into the wilderness, we need
that permit to do so legally," said Hart.
AZGFD re-located 31 Bighorn sheep from the Yuma area into the
Catalinas last November. Protesters say, since that time the Bighorn
sheep have failed to unite to form a herd, and over a third of them have died.
Protesters stood with signs outside the Federal Building on
Thursday afternoon, asking forest service officials to deny this request.
Friends of Wild Animals members said helicopters would create a major
disturbance to wildlife, with noise levels louder than jackhammers.
"Helicopters are a major disruption to our wilderness and
wildlife," said Friends of Wildlife member Ben Pachano.
"Helicopters we know have a significant impact on the area
and our landscape, and the quality of life for wildlife and recreation in that
area," said Amy Harwood, with Friends of Wild Animals.
"We just want them to stop this program immediately,"
Hart said there were several reasons they needed this permit.
"The sheep tend to seek typically the most rugged and steep
territory they can get into. Sometimes in case of checking a mortality
alert in these areas, sometimes can only be accessible by air," said Hart.
Hart said the helicopters would also enable officials to verify
sheep deaths faster, and it would help officials transfer out GPS equipment on
the sheep collars, if they needed.
Due to the steep and rugged terrain, wildlife officials admitted
they had trouble picking up GPS signals off the collars. They were using
VHF signals to monitor the sheep, but that was a slower process.
Game and Fish officials said they had been unable to kill any more
predators that killed the sheep due to the long amount of time that had passed
between the death, and the discovery of the carcass. Hart said by the
time a wildlife officer got to the scene of the death, the remains were too old
and the trail had gone cold. In some cases, overnight rain wiped out the
lion tracks, making it difficult to be sure which lion had attacked the sheep.
Advocates with Friends of Wild Animals said it was clear the
program was a failure and needed to be stopped immediately.
Those on the Big Horn Sheep advisory board have acknowledged that
failure could be an option, but they wanted to do everything possible to ensure
a successful re-introduction.
About 30 more sheep are expected to be re-introduced into the
Catalinas this Fall, another 30 next year.
Trail restrictions are still in place at various trail heads to
protect the pregnant sheep and the lambs.