Author: Zachary Shanan
Fox thought to be extinct found in California.
Three weeks ago, U.S. Forest Service biologists thought they found a fox in the mountains of central California that is supposed to be extinct.
The biologists looked to experts at the University of California, Davis to confirm this finding. Sure enough, the fox they stumbled across was this thought-to-be-extinct fox, a Sierra Nevada red fox (Vulpes vulpes necator).
How the Sierra Nevada Red Fox Was Found & Identified
Photographs of the fox were taken by a Forest Service trail camera near Sonora Pass and showed the fox biting a bait bag of chicken scraps. The bait bag was shipped to two expert wildlife genetics researchers working in the UC Davis Veterinary Genetics Laboratory, Ben Sacks and Mark Statham. Regarding these researchers, UC Davis writes: “Since 2006, they have radically altered our understanding of red foxes in California, supplying information crucial to conservation efforts.”
Analyzing DNA from saliva they scraped off the tooth punctures on the bag, Sacks and Statham confirmed that the spotted fox was definitely a Sierra Nevada red fox.
“This is the most exciting animal discovery we have had in California since the wolverine in the Sierra two years ago — only this time, the unexpected critter turned out to be home-grown, which is truly big news,” Sacks said. (The wolverine found in the Sierra Nevada “was an immigrant from Wyoming,” UC Davis reported.)