Thursday, 18 August 2016

Tiny island foxes make remarkable, record-setting recovery

AUGUST 12, 2016

by Chuck Bednar

Three once-threatened groups of foxes residing on an island off the Southern California coast have made history as the fastest creatures to recover from the US Endangered Species List, officials announced on Thursday.

In a statement, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, confirmed that the San Miguel, Santa Rosa and Santa Cruz Island fox subspecies had been removed from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife, just 12 years after their declining numbers first earned them a place on the register.

US Interior Secretary Sally Jewell called their recovery “an incredible success story,” as well as “a model for partnership-driven conservation efforts across the country.” A fourth subspecies of fox, the Santa Catalina Island fox, was also down listed from endangered to threatened.

“The remarkably rapid recovery of the island fox shows the power of partnership, focus, and science,” added Scott Morrison, Director of Conservation Science at The Nature Conservancy. “Many aspects of this recovery effort – from its scientific rigor to the collaborative enterprise that drove it – can serve as model to advance conservation elsewhere.”

Mammals had been given a 50 percent chance of extinction by 2010
According to Reuters and the Washington Post, the diminutive foxes have called the Channel Islands off the coast of Southern California home for several thousand years, but during the 19th century, their numbers started to decline when settlers brought livestock to the islands.

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