Thursday, April 27, 2006

Catalina Island Fox - Tachi

Report From the Field, 4/22/06 - by Pat Meyer

Friends of the Island Fox traveled to Santa Catalina Island to participate in the Catalina Island Conservancy’s Earth Day celebration and the opening of their new Nature Center at Avalon Canyon.

The highlight of the day was meeting Tachi,
Catalina Island Conservancy’s educational ambassador. This young female island fox plays an important role in enlightening people about this endangered species. Though incredibly cute, she is not a pet. While I was allowed to be photographed with Tachi, I was not allowed to get too close to her, or to touch her at all. She is handled only by the Catalina Island Conservancy biologists.

Tachi’s story:
Her full name is Ne Shun Tachi – “Our little girl of hope.” She was born in a litter that was neglected by their mother. It was determined very early in her life that she had an eye infection. She continued to have chronic eye infections and difficulty nursing from her foster mother, so she was returned to the Institute of Wildlife Studies’ veterinary clinic periodically. While receiving treatment, her eye opened and she became habituated to the humans that cared for her. Consequently Tachi was not able to be released into the wild with her siblings and has become an educational ambassador for her species.

Friends of the Island Fox, Inc. sends our appreciation to the Catalina Island Conservancy’s Chief Conservation and Education Officer, Carlos de la Rosa, and Ann Muscat, Chief Executive Officer, for their invitation to participate in their Earth Day celebration.

Spring population numbers are showing increases on all of the islands. There will be more captive fox pups who will need radio collars for release into the wild. Our motto is “Working Together To Save The Island Fox.” You can make a difference. Join us and our friends at the Catalina Island Conservancy as we strive to save the island fox from extinction.

Friday, April 21, 2006

About Friends of the Island Fox

Friends of the Island Fox is a program of the Channel Islands Park Foundation, a 501 (c) (3) charitable and educational corporation as designated by the Internal Revenue Service. FIF is a joint effort of conservation professionals and concerned private citizens striving to create public awareness about the endangered island fox and to raise funds to support education, research and conservation measures to ensure the island fox’s survival.

Friends of the Island Fox (FIF) was founded as a non-profit 501 (c) (3) charitable and educational corporation in March, 2005. On January 1, 2011, FIF joined with the Channel Islands Park Foundation ( for the joint benefit of both organizations.

 FIF provides presentations to community groups and schools (K-college) regarding the island fox and its important relationship with the Channel Island ecosystem. School programs meet CA State Science Standards and address the Environmental Education Initiative (EEI). FIF also offers professional development workshops for educators on using a local endangered species and the Channel Islands to teach math, science, language skills and conservation issue resolution.

To reach us:

Friends of the Island Fox
c/o Channel Islands Park Foundation
1901 Spinnaker Drive, Ventura, CA 93001

by phone: (805) 228-4123


Program Administrators

Patricia M. Meyer, Island Fox Program Director
Born and educated in England, Pat immigrated to Canada, and then to the United States, settling in Los Angeles where she completed her MBA through the University of Redlands, California. Following employment in advertising and marketing, the remainder of her career was spent as Vice-President of Personnel and Administration for a nationwide property-casualty insurance company, handling all aspects of human resource management and the administration of the company’s five corporate offices. Pat founded Friends of the Island Fox in 2005 and served as its President until December 31, 2010. She continues to guide FIF’s activities and currently holds a position on the Channel Islands Park Foundation Board of Directors.

To Reach Pat Meyer regarding the Friends of the Island Fox Program school visits or community programs:
(805) 228-4123 or

Keri F. Dearborn, Education Director
Keri is a California native. She earned her BA from the University of California, Los Angeles and received her MA in Environmental Education from CA State University San Bernardino in 2009. As well as developing conservation and educational materials and programs for a variety of non-profit organizations and private companies, she is a nonfiction writer and a contributing author for a number of textbooks, teachers’ guides, and state literacy tests. Keri served as V.P. of Education on the Friends of the Island Fox Board of Directors from 2005-2010 and continues to direct FIF’s educational programs.

To Reach Keri Dearborn regarding Friends of the Island Fox educational materials or programs:
(805) 228-4123 or

Updated 1/10/11

Monday, April 17, 2006

Restoring Natural Balance - The Bald Eagle

First bald eagle hatched on northern Channel Islands in 51 years !

In March biologists spotted a bald eagle nest with an egg, on Santa Cruz Island.

On Wednesday, April 12, 2006, the egg hatched and the first bald eagle chick since 1949 chirpped to its parents on one of California’s northern Channel Islands. This is very exciting news not only for the bald eagle, but also for the island fox.

Bald eagles and island foxes lived together amicably on the Channel Islands for thousands of years. The bald eagle preyed primarily on fish, sea birds, and carrion, while the omnivorous fox hunted the islands’ small rodents, insects, and birds, and also foraged for a variety of native fruit. The two predators each had their own niche and played an important role in maintaining balance in the island ecosystem.

The delicate balance, however, was destroyed when the chemical insecticide DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) entered the marine food chain. Small sea life absorbed the DDT, they were eaten by fish, who in turn were eaten by the bald eagles. High levels of DDT in the bald eagles caused them to lay eggs with thin shells that cracked when the parents tried to hatch them.

The last successful bald eagle chick on the northern Channel Islands hatched on Anacapa in 1949.

Without the territorial bald eagle, the islands were open habitat for the golden eagle. Golden eagles migrated to the islands to hunt the large number of feral pigs on Santa Cruz Island. Preying mainly on mammals, the golden eagle next began hunting the island fox. In the late 1990’s predation by golden eagles nearly pushed the island fox to extinction on San Miguel, Santa Rosa, and Santa Cruz Islands.

In the last few years, over 40 golden eagles have been removed from the northern islands and relocated to the mainland. Since 2001, 46 young bald eagles have been returned to Santa Cruz Island. As the bald eagles have matured they have begun reclaiming the islands as their own.

With the hatching of this first youngster in April 2006, there is hope bald eagles will once again be able to make the northern Channel Islands their home. A successful return of the bald eagle would be a important step toward restoring the natural balance and making the islands safe again for the island fox.

(While bald eagles have also been reintroduced on Santa Catalina Island, DDT levels still remain high enough off Catalina that these eagles are unable to lay sufficiently-shelled eggs. On Catalina, bald eagle eggs are collected by biologists, incubated, and the chicks are then returned to the nest to be raised by their parents. Large quantities of DDT in barrels were dumped into the ocean off Palos Verdes Peninsula by Montrose Chemical Company in the 1950s and 60s. These unstable barrels continue to slowly release their toxic content into the ocean and there is no sign that bald eagles on Santa Catalina will be able to reproduce on their own for sometime into the future.)

Monday, April 10, 2006

Become a Fox Ambassador School!

This week Friends of the Island Fox launched its program for Fox Ambassador Schools.

Our organization representatives are going out to schools in Los Angeles, Ventura, and Santa Barbara counties to introduce school children to the island fox and its struggle for survival.

The island fox is a local California species and unique in the world. Its story includes the importance of balance in nature and is easily understood by children of all ages. Once children are aware of the fox's situation, they are eager to help and to take an empowered stance to help these endangered creatures.

We challenge the students in our Fox Ambassador Schools to find creative ways to help the island fox on three levels:

  • by becoming an informed individual and learning about the island fox
  • helping the fox directly through a project
  • and reaching out in their community to increase public awareness

If your class or school is interested in making a difference and helping to save an endangered animal, contact Friends of the Island Fox, Inc. at for more information about becoming a Fox Ambassador School.