Even with her face covered, F257 from Santa Rosa Island is a stunning island fox. Her coat is lustrous, her weight is good, she looks healthy. The mask/muzzle helps keep her calm during her health check.
You might remember F257 from 2021, 2020, and 2019.
She received her first health check when she was a pup in July of 2019. In the winter of 2019, she was fitted with her first radio tracking collar.
F257 continues to live in the Old Ranch area on Santa Rosa Island. This is the same area where she was born and first seen.
In August, National Park biologists were happy to see F257 during island-wide counting of island foxes. Biologist Juliann Schamel says "[F257] has been captured every summer on the [Old Ranch] grid, and has never shown signs of having reproduced, although she is in good condition/health. She's still quite young and most foxes on Rosa did not reproduce in 2020 or 2021, so this isn't surprising."
Low rainfall frequently correlates with fewer resources and female foxes tend to have fewer pups or no pups. Santa Rosa Island may also have reached maximum population size. F257 may not be able to find a mate or adequate territory to support having pups. Being single, may also be a choice. She looks great.
You can see from her data sheet that F257s health check and the replacement of her radio-collar took only 12 minutes.
After two and a half years, F257's radio collar needed a new battery. Her collar was replaced and the old collar will be refurbished so it can be used again. In the video below, you'll see F257 be released after her health check.
Did you notice F257 looked back at the biologist multiple times. Maybe she recognizes the biologist, too.
With her radio-tracking collar F257 is helping to monitor island fox survival on Santa Rosa Island.