Wildlife officials push reward to $5,000 to find poachers of bighorn sheep near Phoenix

Sep 22, 2021, 11:02 AM
(National Park Service File Photo/Andrew Cattoir)...
(National Park Service File Photo/Andrew Cattoir)
(National Park Service File Photo/Andrew Cattoir)

PHOENIX — Wildlife officials in Arizona have increased a reward for information about the poaching of a mature desert bighorn sheep ram south of Buckeye.

Officials with the Arizona Game and Fish Department said Tuesday the reward has reached $5,000, doubling the original offer.

The animal was illegally killed July 10 in the Buckeye Hills at Gillespie Dam, they said.

A department spokesperson said there was reason to believe five men who were seen leaving the scene in two vehicles – a gray sedan and a black SUV – may have been involved.

“We rely heavily on the assistance of the public in coming forward with information, and we are hopeful that a tip could lead us to those responsible for this heinous criminal act,” department wildlife manager Ryan Randall said in a press release.

“This is a horrible waste of the state’s most precious resource, its wildlife.”

The Game and Fish Department’s Operation Game Thief program has offered $2,500 for information leading to a conviction and the Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Society has offered an additional $2,500.

Anyone with information regarding the incident is asked to contact Game and Fish’s Operation Game Thief hotline at 800-352-0700 and reference OGT #21-002114.

Callers can remain anonymous.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Wildlife officials push reward to $5,000 to find poachers of bighorn sheep near Phoenix