Wednesday, December 04, 2013

UPDATE: Two bighorns dead, two lions killed by state. Video of Tucson bighorn restoration. To survive & thrive, fire & careful recreation management by USFS essential

UPDATE, Dec 4: Yesterday Arizona Game & Fish Dept. managers confirmed the state recently killed two mountains lions suspected of preying on two of these reintroduced bighorns. The state is sticking to its position that they will kill any lion suspected of preying on just one bighorn, a strict standard many Arizonans view as excessive and too rigid, especially given AZGFD doesn't know or won't say how many lions may live in the Santa Catalina Mountains. Lack of clear, timely communications by AZGFD is a problem, as is lack of clear standards to justify killing lions. I, and many, still want the bighorns to make it in the Catalinas, but we are also justifiably concerned about 'zero tolerance' kills of mountain lions, lack of data on mountain lion numbers, and lack of clear limits on killing lions. It's a tough balance to find, if the state is truly aiming for balance, which is not clear. AZGFD is saying 'trust us', but the lack of detailed information and the state's historic anti-predator views and actions do not inspire trust or confidence in this situation. Let me know, AZGFD, if I may help.

Nov 19, TUCSON -- I was inspired to be part of the Nov 18 release of 31 wild desert bighorn sheep to the Santa Catalina Mountains, as Ecologist and Southwest Director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). Bighorn were extirpated from this Arizona sky island range in the early 1990s due to poor habitat management. Monday's important action to restore iconic bighorns to the Catalinas was sparked by Aspen Fire benefits to habitat, dedicated conservation advocates and increasing public awareness and support. To survive and thrive, bighorn will need fire and careful recreation and habitat management by the US Forest Service - Coronado National Forest, Arizona Game & Fish Dept., Arizona State Parks and others. See videos below, both by Daniel R. Patterson

Photo by Lou Waters
Photo by Lou Waters

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