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Desert bighorn sheep population on the rise

A new survey shows there is a slight increase of desert bighorn sheep on the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge in southwestern Arizona. From Phoenix, KJZZ’s Lynn Kelly reports.

There was an increase of 26 sheep on the refuge from the 2010 survey for a new total of 428.  While federal Fish and Wildlife Service and Arizona Game and Fish Department have jointly conducted the Kofa bighorn sheep surveys since 1981, biologists say there have been no radical changes to the herd's population in the last six years.

However, wildlife management agencies still remain concerned about the low population levels on the refuge compared to the estimated 812 animals counted in the survey done in 2000.

Experts attribute the decline since then to factors including drought, predators, disease and human disturbance of their habitat.