Rare red foxes are making a surprising comeback according to U.S. Forest Service scientists who have released information claiming that at least six Sierra Nevada red foxes, a species once believed to have been nearly wiped out in the 1920s, are roaming in the wilderness south of Yosemite.
Although there is another known small population in another region of California the new find of just a half dozen of these fury and foxy animals still makes the species extremely rare. Now experts are expanding their studies in hopes of finding more red foxes in the Yosemite area.
This fox find is extremely exciting for biologists and wildland managers because until last year, scientists believed the only known population of Sierra Nevada red foxes consisted of about 20 animals clinging to survival in the Lassen Peak region, about 150 miles to the north of Yosemite.
“Several red foxes have been sighted in recent months just west of Bridgeport, Calif., and DNA analyses collected in the area indicates they may be related,” said U.S. Forest Service biologist Sherri Lisius from the Pacific Southwest Research Station.
Lisius said that the U.S. Forest Service is expanding its study of this animal, the rarest carnivore in California in hopes of finding more and reestablishing its population. “It would be sad to lose this special creature just after rediscovering it,” Lisius added.
The Sierra Nevada red fox lives at high elevations, eating small mammals and birds. It has a reddish head, back and sides; black backs of the ears; black “socks” on its feet; and a white-tipped tail.
Federal and state wildlife technicians have installed motion-sensitive cameras throughout the region, and follow tracks left in the snow in hopes of finding a den with pups.