Island Fox (Urocyon littoralis)
Fox pup

Four of the six island fox subspecies have suffered marked population declines caused by disease (Santa Catalina Island) and predation by golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos; on San Miguel, Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa islands). IWS and the Center for Biological Diversity petitioned the US Fish and Wildlife Service to list these four subspecies as endangered in 2000. The Department of Interior took action and they were federally listed as endangered on 5 March 2004 (Federal Register: Volume 69, Number 44, Pages 10335–10353). The California Department of Fish and Game has classified them as threatened since 1971.

At the time of the listing, IWS was already involved in conservation actions, working with the Catalina Island Conservancy, The Nature Conservancy and the National Park Service.  Our biologists and veterinarians led the effort to captive breed foxes on Santa Catalina and Santa Cruz islands, monitored the remaining wild fox populations on those islands as well as on San Nicolas and San Clemente islands, and worked closely with the Channel Islands National Park on their efforts to captive breed foxes.

 

 

 

Click on the island names below to learn more about what recovery actions were taken on each of the islands.

Santa Catalina Santa Cruz San Clemente San Nicolas
  • Release of captive-born foxes to the wild

  • Captive breeding

  • Canine distemper virus vaccination

  • Survival monitoring

  • Annual trapping to estimate abundance and distribution

  • Release of captive-born foxes to the wild

  • Captive breeding

  • Canine distemper virus vaccination

  • Survival monitoring

  • Annual trapping to estimate abundance and distribution

  • Canine distemper virus vaccination

  • Annual trapping on long-term demography grids

  • Prey sampling

  • Observing fox use of artificial foraging patches located within their native habitats as a measure of relative habitat quality (resource value)

  • Annual trapping for long-term demography study

  • Testing for canine viruses (distemper virus, adenovirus, and parvovirus)

  • The Institute is also administrating studies on San Miguel Island and Santa Rosa Island.

    Links:

    Northern Channel Island (San Miguel, Santa Rosa, and Santa Cruz islands) Island Fox Recovery Plan.pdf and Progress on Recovery Efforts

    Santa Catalina Island Subspecies: Executive Summary from 2004-2005 Report on Recovery Efforts

    Channel Islands National Park Island Fox Page

    Friends of the Island Fox