Sierra Nevada red fox

Lately we have really been enjoying sharing wildlife sightings from various conservation projects. One species that we would be pretty lucky to catch on “film” is the Sierra Nevada red fox (Vulpes vulpes necator) a rare native fox that occupies the wild remote corners of the the Eastern Sierra. I have enjoyed the opportunity to learn a little bit more about this neat animal while conducting background research for a few of our current land conservation projects, and also while finishing up the East Walker Watershed Assessment project.

Interestingly, observations of this species declined significantly after the the 1930’s and with the exception of an occasional reported sighting, the foxes were thought to have disappeared from the region until 2010 when one of them unwittingly ambled into the view of a wildlife camera placed by the Forest Service near Sonora Pass.

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A Sierra Nevada red fox looking “caught” on camera. (credit: John Perrine, Cal Poly)

Wildlife management agencies have been hard at work lately trying to learn more about the elusive species and their population in the Eastern Sierra. The Sierra Nevada red fox is considered a threatened species by the State and is presently under review the the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Recently the fox has been observed as far south as Pine Creek in Mono County, but would typically be seen above the 6,000 ft elevation all the way up to above tree line in the high Sierra. If you see one of these foxes during your travels, take a look at this guide to identification, and if you think its a match make sure you report it to Fish & Game.

Aaron

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