California fox species can be removed from endangered list, according to experts

By Mila Whiteley,

Four subspecies of the California Channel Island fox, which was only added to the endangered list in 2004 can already be delisted, according to scientists.

Each island in the California channel has a slightly different species of fox, reports the Associated Press. However, in the 1990s, the population of foxes across the island chain decreased by almost 95 percent. One of the main causes of the decrease was due to golden eagles that hunted the foxes and disease. In 2004, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service added them to the endangered list.

Ten years later, on both the Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa islands, the number of foxes are nearing the healthy population number they had been at before the decline. The fox population on San Miguel has exceeded their pre-decline number, according to the Santa Barbara Independent.

Though it will probably be years before the official delisting occurs, since approval is needed from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the following monitoring phase. However, Dave Garcelon at the Institute for Wildlife Studies notes that it is still important to try and get the foxes off the list.

"We need to show that the Endangered Species Act works when it does. We need to have some in the plus column," Garcelon told the Santa Barbara Independent.

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