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Crews to haul 3 million gallons of water to Arizona wildlife amid heat, drought

Posted at 9:50 AM, Jun 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-22 13:29:39-04

Arizona’s drought is nothing new and neither is its impacts on wildlife, but state officials say this is going to be the most intense year yet.

Arizona Game and Fish Department says it anticipates hauling more water than ever before to help animals in need.

AZGFD says in 2020, crews hauled 2.4 million gallons of water to thousands of catchments maintained by the department. This year, they anticipate hauling 3 million gallons.

Some of the catchments even have to be filled via helicopter in order to reach wildlife struggling to stay hydrated.

Elk, deer, bighorn sheep, squirrels, lizards, bats, bees, and everything in between have been seen on trail cameras drinking from the water catchments.

“Historic drought periods such as this one, were typically followed by massive die-offs of wildlife,” said Joseph Currie, who oversees the water catchment efforts. By providing water out in the wild, Currie says they are able to help keep animals alive while also keeping them from getting closer to urban areas in search of water.

AZGFD started hauling water to wildlife in 1946. The department says by providing water, they are helping save lives — and you can help too.

You can send a text with the phrase “SENDWATER” to 41444 to help provide funds to AZGFD that offset the cost of caring for wildlife and providing water.