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In mid-November the Arizona Game and Fish Department plans to release thirty desert bighorn sheep at Catalina State Park.

They will come from the Yuma area.

The animals disappeared from the Santa Catalina Mountains in the late 90’s.

Mark Hart, an agency spokesman, said the upcoming release is part of the department’s effort to create a viable population of bighorn sheep in the Santa Catalina range.

“Our plan is to over the next three years introduce thirty sheep each year [and fit] each one with a GPS radio collar so that we can track their movements and also quickly identify mortalities," he said.

Hart said mountain lions hunt bighorn sheep and part of the agency’s plan includes controlling the big cat population if they prey on the newly released animals.

Game and Fish is holding a public meeting on October 23 at 6:30 p.m. at the Loews Ventana Canyon Resort to inform people about the agency’s plan.