Each year in late summer / early autumn, island foxes are caught in safe capture cages so that their numbers can be counted. This also allows the biologists on the six islands, where the island foxes live, to check the health of individual foxes, replace old radio tracking collars and to vaccinate the island foxes against disease.
Canine distemper virus and rabies pose a serious threat to the endangered Channel Island fox. Distemper virus nearly caused the extinction of the Santa Catalina Island fox between 1994 and 2000. The population crashed from 1,342 individuals to 165.
The four endangered subspecies of island foxes on San Miguel, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz and Santa Catalina Islands are successfully recovering and the job of protecting them from disease is a priority. Island foxes have territories that overlap. Recent studies modeling how distemper travels through island fox populations conclude that the best way to protect a viable percentage of island foxes in the event of distemper introduction is to vaccinate a minimum of 100 individuals. And since the vaccine’s protection against the disease only lasts one year, a minimum of 100 island foxes need to be vaccinated on each island annually.
This year Friends of the Island Fox set a goal of raising $2,000 to fund canine distemper vaccinations for 100 foxes on two of the four islands where they are an endangered species. ($10 vaccinates an island fox against canine distemper)
|Rita Mays (left) and some of the El Segundo Ladies Golf Club's Foxy Ladies|
In August 2012 The Foxy Ladies, the women of the El Segundo Ladies Golf Club, took a big swing at our goal. They held a Golf Tournament to raise funds for island fox vaccinations and they raised $1,600!
Thanks to Rita Mays, the tournament organizer, and her golf-playing Foxy Ladies, 160 island foxes will be protected from canine distemper this year.
From golf tournaments to baseball games, to island trips, to lifelong learning programs for Road Scholar, our summer drive has surpassed our goal!
You helped us raise $2,960 for vaccinations !
Every $10 raised helps to protect an endangered island fox from this very contagious disease. This will protect 296 foxes.
Can we make it 400?
A 100 island foxes vaccinated on four islands? You can help make a difference by donating too.
Annual trapping is happening across the Channel Islands. Follow the story of island foxes Tani and Tiptu, and their pup Meymey, on Twitter and Facebook as they experience fall trapping and health checks.