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Monday, May 16, 2011

The Island Fox and the IUCN

photo courtesy of Kevin Schafer
The island fox has an important friend – the IUCN.

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) was established in England in 1948 to promote scientifically based conservation efforts on behalf of wild species. The IUCN has a Red List of species around the world that are threatened and specific categories for their survival status: Extinct, Extinct in the Wild, Critically Endangered, Endangered, Vulnerable, Near Threatened, or Least Concern.

The IUCN has joined with an established fox friend ARKive.org to highlight “Amazing Species” on the IUCN’s Red List website. See more island fox images on ARKive.org.

Recently the island fox was featured as one of these “Amazing Species” - IUCN RedList Amazing Species. The downloadable pdf on the island fox features a photo by another island fox friend, wildlife photographer Kevin Schafer (kevinschafer.com)

island fox photos by Kevin Schafer:

The IUCN lists the island fox as critically endangered. Despite increases in population over the last three years, island foxes have a very limited range and are extremely vulnerable to habitat destruction or introduced disease.

Island species in general are highly vulnerable to extinction because they have limited natural populations and home ranges. Typically island species can not relocate in the face of environmental change. Climate change poses specific threats to island species: rising water levels, changes in temperature and rainfall, fire as a result of drought (fire on Catalina Island), heightened disease threats from insect- or virus-borne pathogens.

How can you help the island fox and other endangered species? Pass on information about these creatures and remind people that saving resources and reducing our carbon footprint helps everyone.