With climate change and other environmental crises, it is hard to often find positive environmental stories but here it is. The National Park Service has announced that various conservation and legal measures have result in bringing back the beautiful Island fox from the brink of extinction. The recovery of the Island Fox is an example of how it is possible for humans to repair some of the damage that we do and actually save animals from extinction.
I have long loved foxes and often look for them on my hikes. I have found them in the farthest corners of the Earth. I recently saw a gorgeous fox in the Denali National Forest in Alaska that causally walked by a line of hikers on a trail. However, the California Island Fox just may be the cutest of all foxes. In the late 1990s , the four subspecies had plunged to fewer than 200 animals. Now they have come back to nearly 6,000 as of 2015, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service .
The foxes were saved with a combination of a captive breeding of the animals, removal of feral pigs from the islands and the reduction of the influx of golden eagles from the mainland that had become an invasive predator. They were also vaccinated against canine distemper and hunting was barred.
The Catalina Island fox remains listed as threatened and the de-listed subspecies are safely on park land away from hunters.
We often find much to criticize in our government but this is real and sensational victory for all of us.