KUIU Conservation Direct- Arizona to Utah – KCD5
In the fall of 2022, KUIU Conservation Direct, alongside the Arizona Game and Fish, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, SFW, and the Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Society, completed a landmark conservation project that has fully established the first-ever Rocky Mountain Bighorn nursery herd in the West.
Through darting and helicopter capture, we were able to move 28 Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep from the surrounding area of Morenci, Arizona to Antelope Island, Utah. The sheep were moved to decrease conflict with humans, vehicles, and roads, while augmenting numbers and genetic diversity to the Antelope Island herd. A true win-win scenario for moving sheep.
KUIU Conservation Direct funded the entire Arizona leg of this project, with the Utah side taken care of by Utah Wild Sheep Foundation and SFW. This project from concept to execution is an amazing example of multiple conservation minded groups, states, and agencies working together for the betterment of wild sheep in the west.
This supplemental capture added to the already approximately 50 bighorns now residing on Antelope Island which were established during the first Conservation Direct transplant back in 2020. The current population on Antelope Island now stands at an estimated 78 sheep—all stemming from Conservation Direct projects. It will not be long before these sheep are used to establishing new herds in Utah and beyond.