Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) officials are rejoicing after big horn sheep relocation efforts have paid off. The Wild Sheep Foundation (WSF) previously chimed in congratulating the AZGFD on its efforts.

According to the WSF, 27 big horn sheep were captured near the small mining town of Morenci, Ariz. because of the high risk involving people hitting them. These hoofed mammals began getting closer to urban neighborhoods in recent years.

“This is what collaborative conservation looks like,” explained WSF President and CEO of the Gray N. Thornton. “Wild sheep enthusiasts from industry, national and state conservation groups and state wildlife agencies all pulling on the same rope to get good work done.”

The following organizations helped AZGFD officials relocate these big horn sheep:

Utah Division of Wildlife Resources KUIU Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife WSF Chapter Utah Wild Sheep Foundation WSF Affiliate Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Society

This transplant is a supplement to a transplant completed in 2020 and will significantly expand the bighorn sheep numbers on Antelope Island, explained Utah WSF President Travis Jenson. Antelope Island is the primary source or nursery herd for bighorn sheep in Utah. We anticipate looking to transplant out of this population to establish new herds in addition to supplementing existing herds in as little as two years!

As of Sunday, AZGFD officials are calling the project successful, pointing out one agency’s problem can become another’s solution.

The department announced over social media:

Sometimes, one wildlife agency’s problem is another wildlife agency’s solution! Check out how moving bighorn sheep from a mining town in Arizona to Antelope Island in Utah helped solve problems for both states, and will result in more bighorn sheep – we like that! Shoutout to our AZGFD teams, Utah Department of Natural Resources, KUIU Conservation Direct and many other organizations that partnered to make this project a success.