Bighorn lamb taken from the wild will make Bearizona its new home

Posted: Updated:
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- A baby bighorn sheep that was confiscated from a Salome-area resident was taken to the Arizona Game and Fish Department's Adobe Mountain Wildlife Center on Tuesday.

It is unknown why the 1-month-old lamb was removed from the wild. It lived at a domestic goat farm and another residence before Game and Fish was notified, according to a spokesman.

"It can no longer be placed back into the wild population because of potential disease risks that can be passed to wild bighorn sheep," said Mike Demlong, Arizona Game and Fish’s wildlife education program manager.

Demlong said the lamb is in good condition and the department has found a home for it at Bearizona, a wildlife park in Williams.

He said it is usually difficult to place wildlife at zoos and sanctuaries because they typically don't have the room.

It is illegal to keep wildlife as pets and Demlong said it is not a good idea to "rescue" wildlife that you believe has been orphaned or abandoned. The parent is usually nearby feeding and will return to her young after a period of time.

Demlong said wildlife reared in captivity or babies raised without the benefit of learning from their parents have a greatly reduced chance of survival when and if they are released back into the wild. 

"The best and kindest option is to leave baby wildlife alone," he said.

If you find baby wildlife that may be injured or truly orphaned, contact the nearest AGFD office or visit for guidance on what to do.