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.
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.
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