Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Bighorns are Coming!

The Catalina Mountains north of Tucson still had a bighorn sheep population when I moved here in 1990, but by the end of the decade, all the sheep were gone, victims of housing development and dogs illegally brought on the trails by their human companions.

Now plans are afoot to bring back the sheep. This article states the sheep might survive this time because the Bullock and Aspen Fires in 2002 and 2003 (can it really be ten years ago already?) cleared the underbrush that restricted the sheep's movement, and provided cover for the mountain lions that ate them.

We will still have the problem of hikers thinking the "no dog" signs don't really apply to their dogs. We will also have the problem of people building houses where the sheep live.

It's interesting that one of the supporters of the reintroduction is the Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Society, which seems to exist to provide opportunities for hunters to kill bighorn sheep. What's wrong with taking only pictures, leaving only footprints? It works for most of us.

I sure would love to see a bighorn in the Catalinas. I wish them Godspeed.

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