No new deaths have occurred among the herd of bighorn sheep transplanted to the Santa Catalina Mountains north of Tucson, officials said.
In its regular update, Arizona Game and Fish Department officials said the total number of deaths remains at 16 of the 31 sheep that were transplanted last November. Most of those sheep were killed by mountain lions. So far, the agency has killed three mountain lions that were preying on the sheep.
Thirty of the 31 sheep released were outfitted with GPS tracking collars. Of the remaining 14 of those sheep, 13 are known to be alive. One of the collars has apparently malfunctioned, Game and Fish said.
The report said all five lambs born since the release appear healthy and are growing. One lamb is already about three-fourths the size of an adult and is already growing horns, the report states. "Seeing the continued development of the lambs is a source of cautious optimism as the project moves forward," the agency's report said.
The report said there herd is down to one surviving ram and there was concern that he was not spending much time with the ewes, which is important as breeding season approaches. The ram, however, in recent weeks has moved into an area with a group of ewes.