Woman records rare sighting of bighorn sheep in Tucson Mountains

Published: Sep. 1, 2016 at 7:36 PM MST|Updated: Mar. 2, 2018 at 4:12 PM MST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - There was a rare sighting in the Tucson Mountains, as a local woman captured an image of a bighorn sheep.

The picture was taken in the Picture Rocks area near Twin Peaks Road.

Arizona Game and Fish Department officials say bighorns have not occupied the Tucson Mountains since the 1950s. Karen McCrorey, the woman who snapped the picture, said the bighorn's beauty was so overwhelming she could barely keep her hand steady.

"I was surprised at how close he let me get. I was very respectful of his space, being a wild animal. I did not want to spook him," McCrorey said.

AZGFD said the bighorn is likely part of a herd that lives on the Ironwood Forest National Monument, roughly 15 miles away. Back in 2003, the Ironwood herd was nearly wiped out from Pink Eye. The animals went blind and were easy prey. Game & Fish worked to give the bighorns antibiotics.

The recent sighting is a great sign that Ironwood bighorn sheep are healthy and out exploring new territory, according to AZGFD.

"They were nearly lost and now have rebounded so fantastically, that they number 200. That's more than double what we have in the Catalinas right now," Mark Hart with Arizona Game and Fish said.

Hart said if anyone spots a bighorn sheep in the Tucson Mountains, be sure to snap a picture and send it to their office. Bighorn sheep sightings may be reported to AZGFD Tucson at (520) 628-5376.

He's hoping a female bighorn sheep will be spotted soon, because that would mean they've taken up permanent residence on that mountain range.

Copyright 2016 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.