Society

Rare Red Fox Spotted In Yosemite For The First Time In A Century

| by Kendal Mitchell
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Officials at Yosemite National Park confirmed two sightings of a Sierra Nevada red fox within its boundaries for the first time in 100 years.

Remote motion-sensitive cameras captured the rare animal on video in mid-Dec. and on Jan. 4.

Sierra Nevada red foxes life in solitary remote mountain habitats in the Sierra Nevada and the Cascade Mountains, making it difficult to study the habits of the animal.

According to the National Forest Legacy, biologists report a majority of the remaining red fox population in North America, between 15 to 50 foxes, lives in the Lassen Volcanic National Park and the Lassen National Forest.

In light of this new sighting, researchers said they look forward to the opportunity to work with officials at other parks to learn more about and protect the rare animal.

“We’re excited to work across our boundary to join efforts with other researchers that will ultimately give these foxes the best chances for recovery,” said Sarah Stock, a Yosemite National Park wildlife biologist.

The California Fish and Game Commission, the California Department of Fish and Game and the US Forest Service all recognize the Sierra Nevada red fox as a critically endangered species.

Biologists do not have an exact measurement of the red fox population because of the current lack in ecological information about the Sierra Nevada red fox, according to the USDA.

In a statement by the National Park Service, officials said they will continue to monitor the cameras in case of future sightings.

While not spotted in Yosemite for nearly 100 years, scientists discovered a pack of Sierra Nevada red foxes living near the Sonora Pass in 2010.

National Park Service officials said they placed "hair snare stations" at the locations of the recent spotting to collect fur samples to test if these foxes are related to the Sonora Pass pack. 

Sources: Inquisitr, US Department of Agriculture

Photo Credit: Inquisitr