Arizona in Focus: What it takes to make sure wildlife have water

Arizona in Focus is a podcast from Cronkite News, the news division of Arizona PBS. Each season we dive deep into a particular topic or story to bring you stories you haven’t heard elsewhere. Check out the rest of our episodes here, and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or Spotify.

PEORIA – The Arizona Game & Fish Department maintains nearly 3,000 water catchments for wildlife around the state, many in rugged locations that are challenging to reach. These man-made watering facilities sustain animals during hot and dry periods. Wildlife use them year-round.

Joseph “Joe” Currie is responsible for making sure the catchments are well-maintained. Over his 22 seasons with Arizona Game & Fish, Currie has spent the past 13 working on, and now supervising, water for wildlife.

“It’s actually been very important for stabilizing the population of wildlife in Arizona,” he told Cronkite News reporter Jonah Hrkal. “If we didn’t have the water out there, we’d witness really drastic fluctuations in the population.”

In this episode of Arizona in Focus, Hrkal visited a catchment off Carefree Highway to learn more about what it takes to quench the thirst of deer, javelina, bobcats, mountain lions, bighorn sheep and birds.

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This story is part of Elemental: Covering Sustainability, a multimedia collaboration between Cronkite News, Arizona PBS, KJZZ, KPCC, Rocky Mountain PBS and PBS SoCal.