Tuesday, July 09, 2024

Radio Collars Arrive for Summer Health Checks!

You Did It!


These refurbished radio collars are being prepared for deployment during island fox health checks on San Miguel Island in the next few weeks.

The Channel Islands National Park fox biologists tie bright pink ribbons on radio collars and mark the ribbon with the collar's ID number and radio frequency. Pink makes it easy to find the collar in a dark backpack. The ribbon can quickly be removed and the information on it entered into field notes, after the island fox has been released.


Having the info on the ribbon helps the biologist minimize the time they spend physically in contact with the island fox.


Island foxes do not have to be tranquilized during health checks. Special muzzles that cover their eyes help to keep them calm. However, it is a priority that wild island foxes are handled only when necessary and for the shortest amount of time possible.


Donors like you funded:

  • 26 refurbished radio collars 
  • 20 new radio collars
  • and $1,036 in rabies vaccine (to vaccinate 650 island foxes)

that arrived this month for deployment across San Miguel, Santa Rosa, and Santa Cruz Islands. Rabies vaccinations will also protect Santa Catalina Island foxes.

Radio collars monitor island fox survival

More about island fox health checks

Friday, July 05, 2024

Fox Foto Friday - Island Foxes as Seed Dispersers

What do these year-old toyon plants have in common?

They were grown from seeds found in island fox scat. 

FIF talks about island foxes eating native plant fruits and spreading the seeds across the islands, but now there is scientific evidence that this seed dispersal can help island plants.

Researchers Savannah Bartel and John Orrock from the Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, were investigating the role social status plays in vertebrate dispersal of seeds. They collected island fox scat with toyon seeds and attempted to grow the seeds. And they grew!


While passing through the digestive system of an island fox didn't necessarily improve germination, being in carnivore scat provides seeds with protection. Rodents, like island deer mice, tend to avoid carnivore predators and their poop. 


Island fox's eating toyon berries are providing the toyon's seeds with a protective compost pile to grow in. 

toyon berries