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