Science News

Searching New Terrain for an Endangered Alpine Fox

Searching New Terrain for an Endangered Alpine Fox – Wildlife Society

Researchers are on their way to learning more about an endangered bushy subspecies of red fox that lives in small, isolated populations in the mountains of California and western Oregon. There are two population segments of the Sierra Nevada red fox (Vulpes vulpes necator) —the Southern Cascades Distinct Population Segment in Oregon and northern California, and the Sierra Nevada Distinct Population Segment in California. The Sierra Nevada population was listed as federally endangered in 2021 when biologists estimated its population had dipped to only about 40 individuals. Since then, researchers continue to learn more about the subspecies in Oregon, but with so few Sierra Nevada red foxes in the Sierra Nevada, it’s difficult to collect data on the population there, like where the foxes live, how many there are and how they’re faring. “Because of the listing, we were now eligible for Section 6 funding from the Fish and Wildlife Service that’s specifically for listed species or species that are potentially going to be listed and are candidate species,” said Chris Stermer, the montane carnivore conservation coordinator with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.