Rare Island Fox Seen on Gaviota Coast

Rare Island Fox Seen on Gaviota Coast title=
Rare Island Fox Seen on Gaviota Coast
13 Comments
Reads 6638

By Vern

Photo of very rare Island Fox on the Gaviota Coast.  Not much larger than a house cat.

 

Login to add Comments

13 Comments

Toggle Comments (Show)
a-1575609325 Jan 15, 2019 11:41 PM
Rare Island Fox Seen on Gaviota Coast

Once upon a time, many MANY years ago, when I was in my late teens, someone at the Museum of Natural History had an Island fox loose in his office/work space. I remember standing looking up at the small fox, which was high up atop a shelf. I reached up and the fox gently grabbed my forefinger and acted as though he wanted to pull me up onto the shelf with him. He was amazingly gentle. It was quite an experience. What happened out at the Islands with the foxes is much more complicated than simply blaming Golden eagle predation. Humans decided the Foeniculum vulgar (fennel plant) didn't belong on The Channel Islands and set about eradicating it, using herbicides. Soon it became apparent that the Island fox thus was deprived of much of its cover. Hunting foxes became much easier for the eagles. Humans really have a talent for gumming things up.

BullseyeB Jan 16, 2019 01:42 PM
Rare Island Fox Seen on Gaviota Coast

I wrote a paper on birds one year many, MANY years ago when I was at UCSB. My instructor knew one of the men who worked at the Museum of Natural History and helped me make contact with him. I got to go there and sit with many of their materials at the large table doing my research, taking notes. While sitting on the tall lab stool, I was visited by that island fox that he’d your finger. He/She sniffed around all the books and my writing tablet while I sat very still talking to him/her. Then he/she treated me to something I will NEVER forget...he/she climbed into my lap, my skirt made a hammock of sorts, curled up and fell asleep! I just sat there petting him/her, reading and taking notes. It was magical!

Pebblehill Jan 15, 2019 04:46 PM
Rare Island Fox Seen on Gaviota Coast

I suppose if you have only ever seen an island fox it's an easy mistake to make. They look the same EXCEPT the island fox had experience island dwarfism so it MUCH smaller, like a small house cat as someone mentioned. Island foxes were decimated by the golden eagle before the eagles were shooed away by the reintroduction of the bald eagle and a captive breeding program helped to bring them back.

EastBeach Jan 15, 2019 01:08 PM
Rare Island Fox Seen on Gaviota Coast

Had no idea there are Island Foxes on the mainland. Friends who have backpacked on Santa Cruz Island tell me they've made a nice comeback.

tagdes Jan 15, 2019 12:31 PM
Rare Island Fox Seen on Gaviota Coast

That's not an island fox, it's way too big. I've photographed the ones above Refugio and the colors are same, but island foxes have no immunity to parasites and diseases and couldn't sustain a population here for 30 years.

Curmudgeon Jan 15, 2019 01:11 PM
Rare Island Fox Seen on Gaviota Coast

Agree, TAGDES. Using the patio table for size/scale reference, looks like ordinary gray fox - from which the Island Fox eventually descended. Can't easily tell from angle, but tail markings also look like a gray.

Z Jan 15, 2019 10:01 AM
Rare Island Fox Seen on Gaviota Coast

There has been a population of similar foxes at the top of the Refugio and Tajiguas drainages for over thirty years. They took a hard hit from parvo virus or another of the canine scourges ten to twelve years ago but seem to have rebuilt their numbers lately.

Flicka Jan 15, 2019 09:22 AM
Rare Island Fox Seen on Gaviota Coast

I wonder if someone brought it to the mainland, either think to make it a pet or just being dumb. In the 1960s I knew a (stupid) guy who brought one back from Santa Rosa Island for a pet. I think it died

Please Login or Register to comment on this.