Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Fire Foxes - Catalina Island Fox Update

Early reports on island foxes surviving the Catalina Island fire are very hopeful.

Ann Muscat of the Catalina Island Conservancy

“Habitat damage is extensive and will require further
analysis. There is no obvious loss of larger wildlife (eagle chicks in nest, deer, bison, foxes). Our staff was able to fly over the Island and monitor for 48 radio-collared foxes and all signals were picked up. This is very good news. Foxes are in the pupping season, however, and staff are now surveying the burn area for females in their dens to see if pups are surviving. A number of iron wood and oak groves were lost, but until we can overlay our vegetation maps onto the fire area, we will not know the full extent of the loss of rare and endangered plant species.”

Julie King, Senior Wildlife Biologist, Catalina Island Conservancy adds the following fox details about four foxes that were sighted in the burn area. Three were non-injured, but one female fox with “severe burns to all four paws, severe dehydration and malnutrition” was captured. The “fox is being treated in the Middle Ranch Veterinary Clinic under the direction of Institute for Wildlife Studies veterinarian Dr. Winston Vickers. An additional fox was captured in the process, a large healthy male, was given a workup, fitted with a radio collar and released at the location of capture.”

As of Saturday, May 26, 2007:

We'll be setting traps all weekend to get a better assessment of potential injuries in the burn area. I'll be sure to keep you updated if we get any additional injuries. On a happy note, the fox we are treating is responding very well to treatment. When caught, she was only 1.2kg and she's now up to 1.7kg. She's eating well and so far there is no sign of infection in her paws. It has only been 5 days, but her feet do appear to be slowly healing. She has a long road ahead of her, but she's doing much better than we had initially expected. Dr. Vickers will be out on June 4th to do an assessment. - Julie King

As the information from the Catalina fire area becomes available we will post it here. Friends of the Island Fox is rallying our resources to see what we can do to help the Catalina island foxes. These island fox survivors of the fire need our support more than ever.

Photos of the Catalina Island fire

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Friends of the Island Fox Supports Integrated Fox Conference

Saving the endangered island fox requires the efforts of caring and knowledgeable individuals from around the country. The Integrated Fox Conference brings all of these people together once a year.

The third week in June, biologists and scientists will meet with conservation professionals and land managers for each of the Channel Islands to report on the current status of all six subspecies of island fox and to make conservation decisions for the upcoming year.

To support the efforts of the Integrated Fox Conference, this year Friends of the Island Fox is providing a grant to the U. S. National Park Service to help offset the transportation costs of the four veterinarians that provide care to the foxes on the islands and who do veterinary laboratory work during the year. These devoted people help maintain the health of island foxes and move quickly when disease threatens this endangered population.
  • Karl Hill, DVM - Santa Barbara Zoo
  • Karen Blumenshine, DVM - Wildlife Services Associates
  • Winston Vickers, DVM - Institute for Wildlife Studies
  • Linda Munson, DVM-PMI - University of California, Davis
The Integrated Fox Conference is sure to bring to light unexpected successes and new conservation challenges regarding the island fox. FIF will post a summary of the Conference, including an update on the status of island foxes on Catalina Island after the fire.

FIF thanks all of you who have donated toward island fox conservation during the first half of 2007. Your contributions have made this grant possible.

See last year’s
  • Highlights from the Integrated Fox Conference, June 20-22, 2006Highlights 2006
  • Mid year population UPDATE

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Fire and Foxes on Catalina Island - Update

Just a quick Update on the island foxes on Santa Catalina Island.

Friends of the Island Fox has been in communication with the Catalina Island Conservancy (CIC). The few individual island foxes that are in captive care for health problems and Tachi, CIC's education fox, are all fine. (For more about Tachi)

As of Thursday May 17, the fire is completely out. Now biologists are beginning the task of trying to locate radio collared island foxes to determine if there were any fatalities due to the fire.

CIC will make their full report at the Fox Conference in mid June. A complete summary of all island fox conservation successes and issues will be posted here following the Conference. (most recent look at island foxes on Santa Catalina Island)

Thank you for your concern about the island foxes in the face of this recent fire threat.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Island Fox Festival at Los Angeles Zoo

Come out and support island fox conservation at:

The 4th Annual Island Fox Festival

Saturday May 19th at
the Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Gardens

Friends of the Island Fox will be helping the L.A. Zoo celebrate the island fox at this day-long event.

Special Activities and Presentations will take place from 10 AM - 4 PM

There will be:
  • A Keeper Talk at the Island Fox exhibit and an Enrichment Presentation
  • Friends of the Island Fox “Fox Talks” throughout the day
  • Fox Radio-Tracking demonstrations
  • Fox Crafts & Conservation Activities
  • Face Painting and more

All activities are included in general admission to the Zoo.

Come out, enjoy a day at the Zoo and meet an island fox. Stop by the FIF booth and say, “Hello.”

Educators and Group leaders: FIF representatives will have information on how you can have Friends of the Island Fox come and give a FREE presentation at your school or community group. We are also looking for enthusiastic schools and groups to participate in our Fox Ambassador Program.

Why is this toy island fox wearing an actual island fox radio collar?

Island foxes need radio collars before they are returned to the wild. Click here for more on Radio Collars and how you can help.

Current Update on the Griffith Park Fire: As of 4 PM 5/9/07 - All is well at the Zoo. All animals are safe and the greatest danger appears to be past. For the most up-to-date information go to www.lazoo.org

Friday, May 11, 2007

Fire and Foxes on Catalina Island

As of 6 PM Friday May 11 the wildfire on Catalina Island appears to be 35% contained. The current situation is an unfortunate example of the delicate nature of island habitats.

Officials from the Catalina Island Conservancy report:

Bald Eagles
The bald eagle chicks that recently hatched on the island are safe. The nests are on the eastern end of the island and not near the fire area. (more on the new bald eagle chicks)

Island Foxes
Currently the effect of the fire on wild island foxes is unknown. Radio collars on individual foxes will be vital in locating individual animals and determining if any have been overwhelmed by the wildfire.

This is another situation that highlights the importance of radio collars on the endangered island foxes on San Miguel, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz and Santa Catalina Islands. Island foxes are currently having their pups on the islands. This new generation will soon need radio collars.

You can help make sure all endangered island foxes have radio collars.

More on the Catalina island foxes.

As details regarding the Santa Catalina island foxes and the Catalina Island Conservancy become available Friends of the Island Fox will provide updates through our Island Fox News e-mails. To be added to the e-mail list contact us at islandfoxnews@gmail.com

For photos and an article in the Los Angeles Times CLICK HERE

Friday, May 04, 2007

Bald Eagle Update: Spring 2007

The recovery of island fox populations on the northern islands is linked to the successful return of bald eagles to the Channel Islands. (Why bald eagles went extinct on the Channel Islands in the 20th century)

Bald eagles stake out territory for themselves and help to keep out golden eagles which prey on unsuspecting island foxes.

This spring has been filled with wonderful successes for nesting bald eagles on the Channel Islands.

Each Channel Island is a delicate ecosystem. Restoring habitat and supporting a healthy bald eagle population is vital to saving the endangered island fox.

Island foxes are presently having their pups out on the islands. Stay tuned for Updates from the Fox Conference in June and come support Friends of the Island Fox at the Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Gardens’ Fox Festival Saturday May 19th.