Critically Endangered Foxes and Wolves

Wolves and foxed may be some of the wildest animals in nature. Yet, their savageness does not exempt them from dangers and menaces that threat their survival. They belong to the family of Canidae which includes the dogs, jackals, coyotes, and other dog-like animals. The International Union for Conservation of Nature listed five species of Canidae under the status of Critically Endangered, meaning that they face extreme risk of extinction. Here are the five critically endangered wolves and foxes:

Island Fox (Urocyon littoralis), also known as coast fox, short-tailed fox, Channel Islands fox, insular gray fox, California Channel Island fox and island gray fox, is a small fox endemic to six of the eight Channel Islands of California. Its head-to-body length is only 48-50 cm and it weighs between 1 and 2.8 kg. The island fox has gray fur on its head, a ruddy red coloring on its sides, white fur on its belly, throat and the lower half of its face, and a black stripe on the dorsal surface of its tail.

Threats to these animals are the presence of golden eagles in the island, introduction of diseases and parasites, and diminished food supply and general degradation of the habitat. The decline of the island fox population was first identified in the 1990s. In 1999, adult population reduced to 15 from 450. Presently, federal protection has been done. The National Parks Service has initiated captive fox breeding programs on San Miguel, Santa Rosa and Santa Cruz Islands, successfully increasing the numbers of resident foxes. In 2004, there were 38 San Miguel island foxes, all in captivity; 46 foxes in captivity on Santa Rosa Island and 7 in the wild; Santa Cruz Island had 25 captive foxes and a stable wild population of around 100 foxes. The Catalina Island Conservancy also runs a captive breeding program on Catalina Island; in 2002, there were 17 foxes in captive breeding programs and at least 161 wild foxes.


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