Decline and Recovery of the Island Fox: A Case Study for by Timothy J. Coonan

By Timothy J. Coonan

Local basically to the California Channel Islands, the island fox is the smallest canid in North the US. Populations on 4 of the islands have been threatened to extinction within the Nineties as a result of human-mediated predation and affliction. this can be the 1st account of the normal heritage and ecology of the island fox, illustrating either the vulnerability of island ecosystems and the efficacy of cooperative conservation measures. It explains intimately the serious conservation activities required to get better fox populations, similar to captive breeding and reintroduction, and large-scale surroundings manipulation. those activities have been profitable due largely to notable collaboration one of the scientists, managers and public advocates curious about the restoration attempt. The ebook additionally examines the position of a few elements of island fox biology, attribute of the 'island syndrome', in facilitating their restoration, together with excessive productiveness and an obvious model to periodic genetic bottlenecks.

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Additional info for Decline and Recovery of the Island Fox: A Case Study for Population Recovery (Ecology, Biodiversity and Conservation)

Example text

Because captive breeding might be required for a decade or more, the Island Fox Conservation Working Group (IFCWG) recommended that formal genetic management be administered through an Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Population Management Plan (PMP or ‘studbook’). In 2004 NPS requested that the AZA develop an island fox PMP with annual analysis of the captive populations and recommendations for pairings and suitable release candidates (Chapters 8 and 12). Unlike studbooks for many species, which assume founders to be unrelated or equally related, the relatedness of potential island fox founders was known, and was therefore incorporated into the island fox studbook (Lynch 2004).

Structure, reproduction, survival, mortality, habitat use, and food habits of island foxes, and discuss areas in which further research is needed. 1 Social structure The social organization and reproductive behavior patterns of island foxes are similar to those of other small canid species, but show an overall adaptation to insular influences. The primary units of social organization in island foxes are mated pairs (Fig. 1) that generally remain together until one of the pair dies (Roemer 1999).

The largest vertebrate prey of island foxes is California ground squirrels (Spermophilus beecheyi) on Santa Catalina. On Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa Islands foxes have killed and eaten island spotted skunks (Spilogale gracilis amphiala); however, observations of foxes hunting skunks are rare, and skunk deaths attributable to foxes are more likely a result of strong competitive interactions rather than direct predation (Jones et al. 2008b; see Chapter 14). Introduced vertebrates such as house mice (Mus musculus) and black rats (Rattus rattus) are taken by foxes when available (Phillips et al.

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