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In Praise of the Turkey (and its genome)

Posted by on Nov 27, 2014 in Blog Posts | 8 comments

Not all of us will eat turkey today, but certainly many of us will be thinking about the bird today of all days. Here are a few interesting facts about the turkey. The Turkey: Domestic or Wild There are two species of turkey. The first, Meleagris gallopavo (and its five distinct subspecies) is native to North America. The second, Meleagris ocellata, the ocellated turkey, is native to the Yucatan Peninsula. The turkey was probably domesticated 2,000 years ago by the indigenous peoples of Mesoamerica. With their muscular bodies; strong, clawed feet and dark, iridescent plumage, wild turkeys are a majectic sight. Turkeys raised for food have been bred to have white feathers as white pin feathers are deemed more aesthetically pleasing on a dressed carcass than dark feathers. Members of the order Galiiformes, turkeys are ground-liviing birds related to...

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More Bighorns Released Near Tucson

Posted by on Nov 21, 2014 in Blog Posts | 0 comments

On Thursday, November 20, 2014, 14 radio-collared desert bighorn sheep were released in the Santa Catalina Mountains. The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) hopes that these sheep will join 12 sheep (and the lambs they delivered last spring) that survived last year’s 31-sheep release. A video of Thursday’s release is available here.* According to Douglas Kreutz of the Arizona Daily Star, 16 more sheep will be or have been released in the same part of the Catalina Mountains this morning. The 16 sheep, 12 ewes and four rams, were captured (using net guns) on Thursday in the Plomosa Mountains near Quartzite. Unfortunately, three rams died during the two November, 2014 captures. Two died in the Wednesday’s capture in the Tonto National Forest and one died during Thursday’s Plomosa capture. One of the three dead rams was euthanized after...

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More Bighorns Released Near Tucson

Posted by on Nov 21, 2014 in Blog Posts | 0 comments

On Thursday, November 20, 2014, 14 radio-collared desert bighorn sheep were released in the Santa Catalina Mountains. The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) hopes that these sheep will join 12 sheep (and the lambs they delivered last spring) that survived last year’s 31-sheep release. A video of Thursday’s release is available here.* According to Douglas Kreutz of the Arizona Daily Star, 16 more sheep will be or have been released in the same part of the Catalina Mountains this morning. The 16 sheep, 12 ewes and four rams, were captured (using net guns) on Thursday in the Plomosa Mountains near Quartzite. Unfortunately, three rams died during the two November, 2014 captures. Two died in the Wednesday’s capture in the Tonto National Forest and one died during Thursday’s Plomosa capture. One of the three dead rams was euthanized after...

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More Bighorns Released Near Tucson

Posted by on Nov 21, 2014 in Blog Posts | 0 comments

On Thursday, November 20, 2014, 14 radio-collared desert bighorn sheep were released in the Santa Catalina Mountains. The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) hopes that these sheep will join 12 sheep (and the lambs they delivered last spring) that survived last year’s 31-sheep release. A video of Thursday’s release is available here.* According to Douglas Kreutz of the Arizona Daily Star, 16 more sheep will be or have been released in the same part of the Catalina Mountains this morning. The 16 sheep, 12 ewes and four rams, were captured (using net guns) on Thursday in the Plomosa Mountains near Quartzite. Unfortunately, three rams died during the two November, 2014 captures. Two died in the Wednesday’s capture in the Tonto National Forest and one died during Thursday’s Plomosa capture. One of the three dead rams was euthanized after...

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The Desert Bighorn Blues

Posted by on Nov 18, 2014 in Blog Posts | 3 comments

“Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.”                                              –Joni Mitchell, singer songwriter The last of Tucson, Arizona’s, original desert bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis mexicana) disappeared from the Santa Catalina Mountains in the late 1990s. Last fall the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) plucked 31 sheep from their home in the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge in Yuma, Arizona, to be transplanted to the 56,933-acre Pusch Ridge Wilderness Area in the Santa Catalina Mountain range north of Tucson. Thirty of the sheep were wearing GPS collars to monitor their status and location. Only 12 of the collared sheep, and a few lambs born last spring, survive today. The other 19 transplanted sheep died, many as a...

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