The Santa Catalina fox is on the endangered species list, but the population has exploded in the last decade, which means that soon, the animal will be taken off the endangered species list.
While this is great news for the species and conservationists, the booming population of the Santa Catalina fox has been causing trouble with the human population of the Santa Catalina Island.
The Santa Catalina fox is the smallest fox species kwon to man. Right now, it is believed that around 1,700 specimens exist, which means that the Santa Catalina fox is close to being taken off the endangered animal list and demoted to being at risk, by the Fish and Wildlife Service.
Santa Catalina Island is a small island located around 22 miles from the mainland (Southern California) and measures 22 miles in length and 8 miles across at the greatest width. The Santa Catalina fox, as the name would suggest, only lives here.
Julie King who is director of conservation and wildlife management at the Santa Catalina Island Conservancy, said they are getting close to removing the animals from the endangered list and that:
It may be that the fox population is regulating itself in the face of higher population densities and reduced abundance of prey such as mice due to the ongoing drought.
The reason why the Santa Catalina fox ended up on the Endangered Species list was a single raccoon with distemper. The animal had been brought to the island as a stowaway and managed to start a breakout that killed around 1,200 Santa Catalina foxes. The official numbers reveal that in 1999 there were 1,342 Santa Catalina foxes and after the distemper breakout, in 2000, there were only 100 of them left.
In 2013, 362 animals were captured and 68 of them were pups, in 2014, out of the 342 Santa Catalina foxes captured, 19 were pups.
However, the newest threat to the Santa Catalina foxes are humans. The foxes have no natural predators and they can be quite fearless. It was disclosed that in 2014 around 21 foxes died after being hit by cars. The same year, two foxes drowned in an uncovered water container, one died after eating rat poison and one was killed by a dog.
The Catalina Island Conservancy has raised funds to installing fox crossings and animal proof trash cans.
Image Source: Catalina Vacations