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Island Fox!

My goal for the daytrip to Santa Cruz Island was to photograph an Island Fox, an endangered species endemic to the Channel Islands (found nowhere else on Earth). Having descended from the mainland Gray Fox, it looks very similar to its ancestor but is roughly a third the size. These little guys are tiny, about the size of a small house cat! The Island Fox was listed as an endangered species in 2004, when four of the six populations collapsed to the brink of extinction. Since then, conservation efforts have helped them recover.

 

We found two foxes after only five minutes on the island and saw three more in the afternoon! I was surprised that they are so used to people and so active during the day. All the encounters were in or near the campground and visitor center, and they had no problem trotting by me within 6 or 7 feet! It sure makes for some nice photo ops, but I hope people aren’t feeding them.

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Taken on February 5, 2011