Yes, eating human food is bad for island foxes. Adults dependent on human food fail to teach hunting skills to their offspring. (Island fox diet) However, the greater threat is the attraction of trash and the behavior island foxes engage in to reach readily available human food waste.
Aging bins are an enticing hazard.
|photo courtesy of Lesly Lieberman and CIC|
|photo courtesy of Julie King, CIC|
Catalina Island Conservancy biologists Julie King and Calvin Duncan report:
Between April and May 2014, four foxes were hit and killed by vehicles in close proximity to open trash cans near Bird Park in Avalon and two more were hit and killed there in November. It is unknown how many other foxes may have been hit by vehicles in the area but did not immediately succumb to their injuries, and were therefore not accounted for.
|courtesy of Julie King, CIC|
|New "Fox Saver" trash bins|
But there is a solution to the double threat: trash bins that island foxes can not access.
“Fox Saver” bins are the same sturdy containers used at Yellowstone and Yosemite National Parks to keep bears out of human trash. Opening the bin requires long human fingers. There is no opening for an island fox to easily enter.
Once the attraction of available human food waste is eliminated, we hope there will be less motivation for island foxes to cross roads, and maybe less attraction to venture into Avalon.
Purchasing these all-steel bins, shipping them to Santa Catalina Island, and installing them on a cement pad comes with a sizable price tag. Each bin costs $2,000. The Catalina Island Conservancy has a goal of replacing 150 trash bins across the island.
Friends of the Island Fox aims to raise $6,000 to fund three “Fox-Saver” bins to be placed in Avalon's Bird Park area. This should actively reduce island fox deaths along one of Santa Catalina's busiest roads. Your donation will help meet this goal and save island fox lives.
The Catalina Island fox is making a strong recovery, but its current restored population combined with growing human activity has increased direct human threats to island fox survival.
Help us make a positive impact by funding
"Fox Saver" bins!
"Fox Saver" bins!