island conservation island fox

Island Foxes Shed “Endangered” Status

Following intensive conservation efforts, Island Foxes are no longer endangered. 

When Europeans settled on the Channel Islands, they brought with them a number of species that were novel to the native ecosystem. Pigs, sheep, deer, feral cats, and other animals introduced to the island began to disturb the native species’ relationships. Island Foxes, once abundant, started to dwindle as more and more individuals became prey for a growing Golden Eagle population. In accordance with its sharp population decline, the Island Fox was flagged as Critically Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Island Conservation Island Fox RS

Island Foxes blend in with their native habitat. Rory Stansbury/Island Conservation

Conservationists established a breeding program for the threatened native fox and created a program to relocate the Golden Eagles. The efforts payed off–the Island Fox population began to recover, and after several years lost their endangered status entirely. Steve Henry, U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s Ventura Field Supervisor said,

We’re ecstatic that we’ve reached this point so quickly. 

In 2009 Island Conservation worked on San Nicolas Island. To protect native species, Island Conservation relocated feral cats, which competed with the foxes for habitat, to a permanent sanctuary. Seeing a species rebound from extinction is heartening and inspiring, and raises hope for continued success in conservation.

Island Conservation Fox Crossing

Foxes are abundant on the Channel Islands. Island Conservation

Featured photo: Island Fox on San Nicolas Island. Island Conservation
Read the original article at LA Times

About Sara Kaiser

Sara received a BA in anthropology from UC Santa Cruz in 2014. As a freelance writer and editor, she seeks to produce and highlight stories that support ecological responsibility, body awareness, emotional intelligence, and creative action, and reveal the connections between them.

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