Chapter launches crowd-funding campaign for kit foxes

By Julia John

A San Joaquin kit fox looks on as its pups wrestle with each other. ©Rick Derevan

TWS’ San Joaquin Valley Chapter is raising money to help treat endangered kit foxes (Vulpes macrotis), whose urban population has been struck by a sarcoptic mange epidemic.

“It’s the Chapter taking a grassroots local conservation issue and trying to rally people in the wildlife community around healing these foxes,” said Skip Moss, Conservation Committee chairman for the San Joaquin Valley Chapter.

Mange has been spreading fatally through kit foxes in Bakersfield, Calif., over the past couple of years, and the response was swift. The Chapter, which includes many members who work with the canines, drew attention to the issue at the Western Section meeting earlier this year. That spawned the idea of starting a GoFundMe campaign to solicit $15,000 to assist kit fox rehabilitation at a local zoo called the California Living Museum (CALM). Proceeds will fund the construction of outdoor pens to hold recovering foxes and the purchase of supplies such as antibiotics and gauze.

Since launching in early April, the initiative has raised about $3,300 from 61 donors.

“It’s not a huge amount of money, but it’s been a big success,” said Moss, who is the chief strategic officer for Natural Resources Group, Inc., a company that works in land asset management, mitigation and conservation, and real estate. “Even though we haven’t hit our funding goal, we’re driving towards it.”

The campaign grows via social media, he said, and has gotten over 370 shares on Facebook and Twitter but remains limited to the San Joaquin Valley in scope. The Chapter is working with the Western Section to highlight the campaign and figuring out how to generate regular content to boost its reach and momentum, he said.

“I keep hoping one of these days it’s going to catch people’s eye again with wider distribution and go viral and we get our funding goal,” Moss said.

Julia John is a science writer at The Wildlife Society. Contact her at jjohn@wildlife.org with any questions or comments about her article.

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