Another bighorn sheep has died in the Catalina Mountains, the Arizona Game and Fish Department reported Monday.
It’s the 16th bighorn to die since 31 sheep were relocated from the Yuma area to the range north of Tucson in November.
Wildlife officers confirmed the death of the bighorn ewe on Sunday and determined it was the victim of a mountain lion, said a notice on the Game and Fish Department website.
Most of the bighorn deaths have been the result of predation by mountain lions. Three lions have been killed at the department’s direction for preying on sheep.
The lion in the most recent incident will be pursued, but it’s uncertain when or if it will be found and killed, said Joe Sacco, wildlife manager supervisor for the department.
“We are trying to go after the lions that are proving to be predators on the sheep,” which were brought to the Catalinas in an effort to rebuild a herd that died out there, Sacco said.
He said there is a “healthy population of mountain lions in the Catalinas” and that hunters have “harvested” about 20 lions a year there in recent years. Exact population figures are unknown, but it’s estimated that scores of lions live in the range.