A fifth bighorn sheep released in the Santa Catalina Mountains north of Tucson has died, killed by a mountain lion, state game officials said Friday.

This is the fourth bighorn killed by lions since their release in mid-November. Thirty-one bighorns were released into the mountains to replace a herd that died out there in the 1990s.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department had previously said four of the bighorns had died, three being killed by lions. The fourth died from health complications related to being transplanted.

The bighorn deaths and the agency's killing of lions that have killed them has generated controversy. Several protesters were outside the Game and Fish's news conference on Friday announcing the death.

Read more of this story in Saturday's Star.