The Island Fox

By: Ajay Palmer& Kevin Yu

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Scientific name: Urocyon littoralis

Date of Discovery: Discovered in 1857 by Spencer Baird

Biogeographical data

  • Location: Channel Islands, California (San Miguel, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, Santa Catalina, San Clemente, San Nicolas)
  • Initial Population size: 6,000
  • They are omnivores, reproduce in dens once a year, mate for life and scavenge for food and hunt. They are protected by parents when young, and have nocturnal and diurnal behavior. They have keen sight and can see perfectly at night and day. They climb trees by turning their paws inward and run very fast on grasslands and hillsides.They use almost all habitats on the Channel islands to survive. Den sites can include rocks, brush, log piles, earthen burrows, and man-made structures. They forage and consume a wide range of organisms including rodents, birds, lizards, insects, snails, carrion, and some fruits.

Causes of Extinction

They are endangered due to a virus from a raccoon which carried the fatal disease, which is called canine distemper virus. Golden Eagles also over hunt these animals.

Ecological Effects

  • Increase of mice, deer, beetles, crickets, and earwig populations.
  • Slight decrease of golden eagle populations
  • Over consumption of plants by increased herbivore population
  • Plants such as Catalina cherry, toyon, manzanita rely on the island fox to disperse their seeds after consumption of their fruit
  • Higher predation on birds

What Can We Do?

  • We can bring island foxes into protective protective captive breeding facilities on each island
  • Relocation of golden eagles hunting the foxes
  • Reduce littering which can provoke the foxes to cross roads to forage through trash


United States. National Park Service. "Island Fox." National Parks Service. U.S. Department of the Interior, 2016. Web. 18 Feb. 2016. <>.

"Friends of the Island Fox: About Island Fox." Friends of the Island Fox: About Island Fox. Web. 18 Feb. 2016. <>.

"Support the." Urocyon Littoralis (California Channel Island Fox, Channel Islands Fox, Island Fox, Island Gray Fox, Island Grey Fox). Web. 18 Feb. 2016. <>.