Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Good News For Channel Island Foxes

Autumn is always a busy time for biologists working to save the endangered island fox on the California Channel Islands. This is the time of year when island foxes are caught, counted and given health checks. Early reports from the islands have been very positive. (Santa Catalina Island fox numbers)

photo courtesy of Kevin Schafer
Biologist Tim Coonan from Channel Islands National Park believes that the San Miguel Island fox population may have recovered to its pre-decline levels. This would be fantastic news and a tribute to all of the National Park employees, government agencies, public and private institutions and local citizens that worked so hard to save this critically endangered mammal.

In 2000, only 15 island foxes remained on San Miguel Island. More on San Miguel. The journey to reestablishing that population to over 400 individuals is now documented in a new book written by the biologists who were in the field saving the island fox.

Decline and Recovery of the Island Fox: A Case Study for Population Recovery 
by Timothy J. Coonan, Catherin A. Schwemm and David K. Garcelon. (Ecology, Biodiversity and Conservation, 2010)

The book provides a scholarly account of island fox biology, the crisis that caused the island fox population to plummet on four separate islands and the actions that were taken to save this rare species from extinction. It looks at the ecological impact on the islands when the island fox population was crashing and the role that public education plays in conservation efforts.

The recovery of the endangered island fox is a conservation success story and a model for other threatened plants and animals. Friends of the Island Fox celebrates the publication of this important book with our friends Tim Coonan, Catherin Schwemm and Dave Garcelon. Tim was instrumental in conveying the need for an education organization to Friends of the Island Fox founder Pat Meyer, Cathy served on our Board of Directors for four years, and Dave has frequently been a valued source for information.

If you are a serious student of ecology and endangered species, you may want to put this book on your gift list. Link To Book