Friday, February 16, 2018

Fox Foto Friday - Island Fox Eating Redberry

Island foxes love their native fruit! Across the Channel Islands native fruit sometimes makes up over 50% of the island fox's diet

Researcher Todd West observed this island fox eating island redberry. From toyon and lemonade berry, to Catalina Island cherry and prickly pear cactus, if the native fruit is red, island foxes eat it.

Thank you, Todd, for sharing your photo with Friends of the Island Fox. More of Todd's photos. More island foxes eating.

Do you have a great photo of an island fox? Share it with Fox Foto Friday - 

Friday, February 09, 2018

Make the Island Fox Your Sweetheart

This Valentine's Day
Won't you share your passion?

February through April, island fox pups will be born across the Channel Islands. Help give the 2018 pups the best chance of survival by supporting two important conservation projects.

Recycled radio-tracking collars: 
Good for foxes and the environment
Pups on San Miguel Island face serious challenges like drought and climate change. Young foxes are struggling to survive and adults are threatened by new parasites.

island fox with radio collar
You can help National Park biologists better protect the foxes by donating toward a radio-tracking collar. Radio collars help biologists respond quickly when foxes are in danger. By refurbishing previously used collars, we're also reducing costs for foxes and the environment. Each refurbished collar costs $220, a 33% savings over typical radio collar costs and keeps a used collar out of landfills.

This Valentine's Day, FIF has our hearts set on funding 15 radio collars!

Slow Down for Foxes!

Island foxes on Catalina face another serious danger: automobiles. One of the ways to alert drivers to the dangers of speeding in fox territory is through electronic signs that tell drivers they are going too fast. These signs have been shown to slow down traffic and reduce fox injuries and death.

A critical sign on Catalina needs replacing. For $3,000, we can repair the sign and put it back in service, saving more fox lives.

Two Ways to Share Your Passion
Donate Today

or by mail:
Friends of the Island Fox: 2390 C Las Posas Road, Suite #120, Camarillo CA 93010

Help create a better future for island foxes!

Friday, February 02, 2018

Island Foxes With a Sweet Tooth

What is that island fox doing?

On a December trip to Santa Cruz Island several observers documented a number of island foxes busily searching the ground under the eucalyptus trees.

courtesy of Douglas E. Welch
Initially we thought they were finding food debris left by campers, but the more we watched the more it became apparent that the island foxes were licking something on the leaf litter. The December day was unusually warm and dry. (This was while the Thomas Fire in Ventura was blazing.) We watched foxes in close proximity to each other completely engaged in their search and paying no attention to us or each other. At one point there were seven foxes in this small area. -
Douglas Welch

bloom after island fox licked it

The red gum eucalyptus trees were in bloom. One young island fox stood on its hind legs and pulled down a low branch so it could access the flowers. One at a time, it stuck it's muzzle into the eucalyptus blooms, licking and nibbling them. I've been visiting Santa Cruz for over 10 years. I've never seen this behavior before. - Keri Dearborn 

Little beads of sticky sap were on the tables and benches. I touched my finger to the sap and tapped it on my tongue–it was sweet.  - Michael Lawshe

One island fox wandered within several feet of me. Each time it found a drop of sweet sap, it would lick it up and make a soft sound, almost like a purr. - Keri Dearborn
On this dry hot day in December, the island foxes were licking up the sweet eucalyptus sap. While this is not known to be a typical behavior, it is another example of the adaptive nature of these unique canines. Typical island fox diet. Island foxes eating toyon berries that same day.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Friends of the Island Fox Joins With Channel Islands Restoration

photo courtesy of Todd West
This island fox is eating small native berries. 
Plants sustain island foxes.

2018 begins with some exciting news!

Friends of the Island Fox 
is now a program of Channel Islands Restoration.

Channel Islands Restoration (CIR) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that protects rare and endangered plants and animals by restoring habitat in sensitive and unique natural areas on the California Channel Islands and adjacent mainland.  

In 2016, FIF and CIR worked together taking two groups of volunteers to Santa Cruz Island to remove invasive plants.

Families removing invasive oyster plant on Santa Cruz Island

Island foxes are intricately connected to the other plants and animals in their ecosystem. This new relationship with CIR will enhance FIF's ability to effect long-term positive change for island foxes across the six islands where they live.  We look forward to working with CIR to revitalize habitat for island foxes and other island species. 

The health and welfare of island foxes remains FIF's priority. From radio-tracking collars to vaccinations, from campground food lockers to education presentations, your donations to Friends of the Island Fox support a variety of conservation efforts, public education, and research focused on island fox survival. What We Do

Meet FIF's new Advisory Committee and consider how you can help island foxes. 

Working together we can protect island foxes and their Channel Island home.

Keri Dearborn, FIF Program Director 

Friday, January 19, 2018

Fox Foto Friday - Island Fox Casual

Few wild animals, especially top predators, will go about their daily lives right in front of human observers. Island fox as predator. Researcher Todd West took this photo of a Santa Cruz Island fox on a recent visit to the Channel Islands. 

Island foxes in Channel Islands National Park regard people as equals. These tiny predators are not afraid of people because they have had a positive relationship with humans for thousands of years. Modern visitors play a vital role in maintaining that relationship; Visiting The Island Fox.

Thank you, Todd, for sharing your image with Friends of the Island Fox.

Friday, January 05, 2018

Fox Foto Friday - Island Fox School Project

An island fox, its habitat, diet, behavior and life story.

This wonderful school project was created by a 3rd grade student at Opal Robinson Elementary School in Manhattan Beach.

FIF school presentations will be available on a limited basis beginning in March 2018. 

Teachers - island foxes are a real world entry into math, history, science and ecology. Check out island fox school activities K-12. 

Monday, January 01, 2018

Friends of the Island Fox's "12 Days of Winter"

Happy New Year 2018!
On the 12th Day of Winter the Islands gave to me...

Find out more about island foxes and their

A huge Thank You to Douglas E. Welch for providing graphic design and to the photographers that contributed to this project: Michael E. Lawshe, Keri Dearborn, Douglas E. Welch, Peter Pendergest, Catherine Schwemm, and Mike Watling. A special Thank You to Cathy Van Slyke, who's photo of an island fox in a fig tree provided the inspiration.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Fox Foto Friday - Island Foxes Staying Warm

On a December trip to Santa Cruz Island, Nancy Beach from North Carolina captured this image of an island fox snuggling in for a nap.

"I was surprised the foxes were so easy to spot - our eastern red foxes are nocturnal, so I've only seen maybe a half dozen in my entire life," said Nancy. She saw numerous island foxes and remarked, "Beautiful animals!"

Island foxes stay warm against the winter chill by curling up in a ball. They tuck their legs under their body and use their fluffy tail to cover their face. While island fox fur is not as thick as foxes that live in snowy climates, it still insulates these tiny hunters from the cold.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

An Island Fox in a Fig Tree

Discover what's to come over the 12 Days of Winter
Follow Friends of the Island Fox on:

Twitter @ifoxtweet
Facebook islandfoxtweet
or Instagram islandfoxnews

Join in the fun each day through January 1! 
What will be your favorite day?

Friday, December 15, 2017

Island Foxes and the Thomas Fire

Santa Cruz Island shrouded in Thomas Fire smoke, 12/12/17
Yes, there is smoke on the water. While the Thomas Fire is burning on the mainland in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties, smoke has blown off-shore engulfing the islands. On satellite images, Santa Cruz Island has frequently disappeared in the smoke.

NASA satellite photo 12/8/17
While embers from the fire did reach Santa Cruz in the early days of the Thomas Fire, no fires ignited on the island. In fact, on Tuesday, Dec. 12, FIF observers reported numerous island foxes behaving normally.

This young fox in the toyon tree was foraging for toyon berries. Can you find the fox in this picture? Other island foxes were hunting on the ground beneath the toyons and redberries. Despite the smoke, island foxes were well.

We know some of the people impacted by the massive Thomas Fire are island fox friends, biologists, National Park employees, and island fox supporters. Friends of the Island Fox extends its thoughts to everyone in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties who have lost homes and been displaced by this tragic event.