2 more rare red foxes confirmed in Sierra Nevada

Dec 04, 2010 By SCOTT SONNER , Associated Press
In this photo taken Monday, Sept. 6, 2010 and provided by the U.S. Forest Service, a red fox is seen after it was photographed with a remote camera north of Yosemite National Park . Once thought to be extinct, federal wildlife biologists have sighted two more rare Sierra Nevada red foxes they believe are related to one that was photographed this summer near Yosemite National Park. (AP photo/U.S. Forest Service )

(AP) -- Federal wildlife biologists have confirmed sightings of two more Sierra Nevada red foxes that once were thought to be extinct.

Scientists believe the foxes are related to another that was photographed this summer near . More importantly, they say, DNA samples show enough diversity in the Sierra Nevada red foxes to suggest a "fairly strong population" of the animals may secretly be doing quite well in the rugged mountains about 90 miles south of Reno.

The first confirmed sighting of the subspecies in two decades came in August when a remote camera captured the image of a female fox in the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest near Sonora Pass.

Forest Service officials confirmed Friday that two more foxes - one male and one female - were photographed in September in the neighboring Stanislaus National Forest, about 4 miles from the original.

That indicates there is the "continued persistence of a genetically unique population of Sierra Nevada red fox in the southern , rather than a single individual," the agency said.

The were obtained from fox feces, or scat, collected at the sites where the two most recent animals were spotted. They were caught on film by motion-activated cameras triggered when the bait - in this case, a sock full of chicken - was disturbed.

"There's enough diversity in the DNA that we think there is a fairly strong population there after not showing up in this isolated area for years and years," Forest Service wildlife biologist Diane Macfarlane said Friday.

"It shows the male individual has some relationship to that initial female. The data isn't strong enough to say if it was a mother or father or sibling, but it is some level of relationship - aunt, cousin, uncle," she told The Associated Press.

"The good news is we definitely have a male and female. We know there are breeding possibilities and there could be others," said Macfarlane, who leads the agency's regional program on threatened, endangered and sensitive species based in Vallejo, Calif.

"We anticipate getting a lot more information in the future as we begin to focus serious, additional efforts there," she said.

This particular red fox subspecies - or geographically distinct race - is one of the rarest, most elusive and least-known mammals in California and the United States, agency officials said.

Once widespread throughout California's mountains, it has become very rare in recent decades, with only a single known population of fewer than 20 individuals at the north end of the Sierra near Lassen Volcanic National Park about 100 miles northwest of Reno.

The Forest Service has expanded the survey effort in recent months in conjunction with researchers at the National Park Service, California Department of Fish and Game, UC-Davis and Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo.

Adam Rich, a wildlife biologist for the Stanislaus National Forest, worked with a team of high school volunteers to collect scat at the two new photo locations.

Macfarlane said it was a good example of how federal agencies can work in concert with other researchers to find "simple and cost effective ways to manage and monitor rare wildlife."

"We are really ramping up our survey efforts, working with universities and others, to go look for things in places where we haven't looked before," she said. "And we are finding more things as our techniques become more and more sophisticated."

"For wildlife biologists, these types of findings are the highlight of our career," she said. "I get goose bumps just talking about it."

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geokstr
2.2 / 5 (10) Dec 04, 2010
Oh, no!

We'd better shut down all industry west of the Mississippi River, all mining and timber cutting, and all energy production. After all, saving this "subspecies" is more important than all the humans in Nevada.

It is for the children.
deadheatbeatdown
2.7 / 5 (3) Dec 04, 2010
Couldn't agree more.

This subspecies of red fox is far more interesting than the "subspecies" of human that lives in Nevada could ever hope to be.
geokstr
2 / 5 (4) Dec 04, 2010
Couldn't agree more.

This subspecies of red fox is far more interesting than the "subspecies" of human that lives in Nevada could ever hope to be.

You bet. They're so stupid and backwards there, they even re-elected Harry Reid. Good riddance to them, I say.
Skeptic_Heretic
2 / 5 (3) Dec 04, 2010
Oh, no!

We'd better shut down all industry west of the Mississippi River, all mining and timber cutting, and all energy production. After all, saving this "subspecies" is more important than all the humans in Nevada.

It is for the children.

Actually, Republicans already did that. It was cheaper to mine overseas so they packed up and went there.

Blood minerals anyone?
BatsLast
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 05, 2010
I would rejoice if Nevada were given to attractive, quiet, useful mammals like the fox--following the extirpation of vermin like geokster. I can think of a lot of species I prefer to the North American Fascist.
geokstr
3 / 5 (2) Dec 05, 2010
I would rejoice if Nevada were given to attractive, quiet, useful mammals like the fox--following the extirpation of vermin like geokster. I can think of a lot of species I prefer to the North American Fascist.

And this is just one of the many reasons leftlings are despicable. In the many years I have been debating people like you, I have never once wished for the "extirpation" of a liberal, nor any other physical harm.

I am curious, though, which methods do you personally prefer, gas ovens, firing squads, maybe starvation in a re-education camp? People with your political philosophy have honed "extirpation" techniques to a science in the last 93 years, having already "extirpated" 100 million people who had the audacity to disagree with them.
Skeptic_Heretic
3 / 5 (2) Dec 05, 2010
I would rejoice if Nevada were given to attractive, quiet, useful mammals like the fox--following the extirpation of vermin like geokster. I can think of a lot of species I prefer to the North American Fascist.

And this is just one of the many reasons leftlings are despicable. In the many years I have been debating people like you, I have never once wished for the "extirpation" of a liberal, nor any other physical harm.

I am curious, though, which methods do you personally prefer, gas ovens, firing squads, maybe starvation in a re-education camp? People with your political philosophy have honed "extirpation" techniques to a science in the last 93 years, having already "extirpated" 100 million people who had the audacity to disagree with them.

Such a fount of tolerance you are. Especially after saying
You bet. They're so stupid and backwards there, they even re-elected Harry Reid. Good riddance to them, I say.
geokstr
1 / 5 (1) Dec 05, 2010
Such a fount of tolerance you are. Especially after saying
You bet. They're so stupid and backwards there, they even re-elected Harry Reid. Good riddance to them, I say.

You know, skeptic, for a bright guy (or girl), you are pretty obtuse. My comment was satire/sarcasm, and I thought it was pretty obvious. If not, I apologize and will start using (sarc)(/sarc) so you can tell.

I don't for a second believe that Batlast's comment was anything but serious, especially since I've seen and heard and read so much from leftists wishing and performing violence on those on the right over the decades.
Skeptic_Heretic
1 / 5 (1) Dec 06, 2010
You know, skeptic, for a bright guy (or girl), you are pretty obtuse. My comment was satire/sarcasm, and I thought it was pretty obvious. If not, I apologize and will start using (sarc)(/sarc) so you can tell.
Sarcasm often doesn't translate well in text, especially when filled with such vitriol.
I don't for a second believe that Batlast's comment was anything but serious,
As I don't doubt that yours was entirely serious.
especially since I've seen and heard and read so much from leftists wishing and performing violence on those on the right over the decades.
You mean like the "Crusade" against the Taliban and Iraq?
GSwift7
3 / 5 (3) Dec 06, 2010
Joke ->

Maybe this is a sign of things finally starting to improve because of global warming, much like the return of mountain lions to the kansas city area.

With Midwest manufacturing in a death spiral, it'll be good if the people there have some kind of alternative way to survive, like fur trading. Maybe things aren't so bad after all. My Uncle Bob would love to see more large game around his farm. I think he would like bears.

Skeptic, the reason Obama increased troops in Afghanistan is obviously because the Taliban won't agree to Kyoto. It's not a crusade. I hardly think it's fair to paint Bush and Obama as religious crusaders. However, if they are both puppets of the Catholic Church, then that would explain a lot of things.
Skeptic_Heretic
1 / 5 (1) Dec 06, 2010
Skeptic, the reason Obama increased troops in Afghanistan is obviously because the Taliban won't agree to Kyoto. It's not a crusade. I hardly think it's fair to paint Bush and Obama as religious crusaders. However, if they are both puppets of the Catholic Church, then that would explain a lot of things.
Bush called it a crusade explicitly, that is unless you meant your entire post to be a joke. In which case, LOL. (And fyi Bush is an evangelical).
GSwift7
2 / 5 (2) Dec 06, 2010
SH: Bush uses words like nucular. That's all I have to say about that.

Yes, my whole post was a joke.
Skeptic_Heretic
3 / 5 (2) Dec 06, 2010
SH: Bush uses words like nucular. That's all I have to say about that.

Yes, my whole post was a joke.

So was his presidency, yet you won't see many Conservatives own up to that, unlike yourself I assume.
Ratfish
not rated yet Dec 12, 2010
Must you fools turn every post into a political pissing contest? Isn't there a dirty back alley you could be fist-fighting in somewhere?