The public will temporarily not be allowed in area of Santa Catalina Mountains where bighorn sheep live, according to a press release Friday from the Coronado National Forest, which ordered the special closure.
The order says it is prohibited to travel more than 400 feet off designated U.S. Forest Service trails and that dogs are not allowed anywhere near. Coronado officials said the order would restrict the stress that dogs and large groups of people can cause to the bighorn sheep.
Coronado employees and volunteers will patrol the area to inform visitors of prohibited activities.
The release said the closure will remain in place for the welfare of the animal.
In November, 31 desert bighorn sheep were released into the Pusch Ridge wilderness in the Santa Catalinas under a wildlife re-establishment program of the Arizona Game and Fish Department. Since then, eight have been killed by mountain lions.