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Safari Club to Join Legal Battle Over Arizona Sheep

March 7, 2008.

From Safari Club International:

In a legal victory, Safari Club International has been granted leave to join as a full party in litigation concerning bighorn sheep on Kofa National Wildlife Refuge. On February 29, 2008, Judge Mary Murguia, of the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, granted SCI and SCI Foundation’s motion for leave to participate as intervenors to defend the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s restoration of two man-made water developments on the refuge. 

These water sources provide essential water to the refuge’s bighorn sheep population and other wildlife. The bighorn sheep of Kofa NWR are a seed population for reintroductions of the species throughout the West. During the last seven years, the refuge’s sheep numbers have diminished from 800 to less than 400. In 2007, the FWS entered into an agreement with the State of Arizona to restore two artificial water developments on the refuge in order to provide consistent sources of water for the area’s wildlife. 

Two wilderness groups and others filed suit to challenge the restoration efforts. SCI and SCIF, together with the National Rifle Association, the Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Society, Foundation for North American Wild Sheep, Arizona Deer Association, Arizona Antelope Foundation, Yuma Valley Rod and Gun Club and other groups, moved to intervene to defend the FWS’s actions. The court has now given SCI and SCIF the ability to actively brief and participate in all aspects of the litigation.

Upon hearing of this latest victory, SCI President Dennis Anderson said, “SCI has long advocated the use of man-made water developments for wildlife conservation. The FWS and State of Arizona have recognized the critical role that these sources play in dry areas. SCI is pleased to help defend the legal and appropriate use of these important conservation tools.” 


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