Tuesday, April 07, 2015

USFWS Announces Channel Island Fox's Record Recovery

Channel Island foxes have been in the news! 

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced the release of the final Recovery Plan for Channel Island foxes on March 11, 2015. They also stated that the USFWS will begin evaluating the current status of the four subspecies which are presently designated as Endangered (the San Miguel Island fox (Urocyon littoralis littoralis), Santa Rosa Island fox (U. l. santarosae), Santa Cruz Island fox (U. l. santacruzae), and the Santa Catalina Island fox (U. l. catalinae)).

Will any of the four endangered subspecies be removed from the Endangered Species List? 

health checks continue to monitor status
That question will not be answered until each subspecies is thoroughly evaluated regarding population health, habitat stability, and potential threats to future survival. Human impacts are a continuing concern, especially on more visited islands like Santa Catalina.

The ultimate determination to downlist any of the subspecies will not occur until at least a year after the status review is completed. Still, there is much to celebrate. As quoted in the press release from Channel Islands National Park:

Due to the remarkable success of the Endangered Species Act, recovery actions by land managers and conservation partners have led to dramatic population increases on all four islands since listing, effectively bringing the species back from the brink of extinction, said Steve Henry, field supervisor of the Service’s Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office. To date, it appears that this is the fastest population rebound due to recovery actions and ESA protections for any land mammal in the United States.

Channel Island foxes are once again highly visible in the wild.
The Endangered Species Act (ESA) has provided the necessary protection and attention to help save four subspecies of Channel Island foxes from extinction.

Thank you to all of the dedicated professionals and concerned private citizens that have contributed to this vital effort. Our motto has never been more true: