9th bighorn sheep dies in mountain near Tucson

February 7, 2014

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — State wildlife officials say a ninth bighorn sheep has died in the Catalina Mountains north of Tucson where 31 bighorns were released late last year.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department reported Friday that the pregnant adult ewe was found Jan. 31 in area of steep slopes and cliffs.

Authorities say evidence indicates that a young mountain lion or a bobcat was likely involved in the killing.

The 31 bighorns captured in mountains near Yuma were released in the Catalinas last November in an effort to rebuild a herd that disappeared from the range in the 1990s.

Game and Fish officials say seven of the previous eight bighorn deaths were caused by mountain lions. An adult ram found Nov. 27 likely died from a condition that led to heart failure.