Channel Island Foxes Rebound

Fifteen years ago, the foxes on the Channel Islands were on the verge of extinction. Today, thanks to conservation efforts, the population is recovering far faster than expected. Efforts to assist the foxes included relocating golden eagles that feasted on the foxes and replacing them with bald eagles, which more commonly feed on fish. In addition, officials killed more than 5,000 pigs on Santa Cruz Island because they served as another prey source that attracted golden eagles. To keep the recovery trend going, officials will have to continue vaccinating the foxes against distemper and keep an eye out for bald eagles adapting their hunting patterns and shifting their focus from seafood to the foxes. But conservationists are optimistic. Lotus Vermeer, director of the Nature Conservancy’s Santa Cruz Island Preserve, is quoted in The Ventura County Star as saying, “The rapid recovery of island foxes may be one of the most successful recoveries of an endangered species to date.”


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