Camera spies rare Catalina Island shrew

A trail camera captured this image of a Catalina Island shrew, seen in the upper left corner.
Credit: Catalina Island Conservancy

A Catalina Island shrew has made an appearance for the first time since 2004, confirming to biologists that the species is not extinct. The shrew appeared on a trail camera on Southern California’s Santa Catalina Island that the Catalina Island Conservancy set out to find evidence of the shrew.

“We have been looking for the Catalina Island Shrew for years,” said conservancy wildlife biologist Emily Hamblen said in a statement. “I thought, and really hoped, that they still existed somewhere on the Island.”

The Catalina Island shrew (Sorex ornatus willetti) was listed as a species of special concern by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife in 1996. The conservancy set cameras at 28 locations between February and May 2020 to try to see if the tiny mammal was still on the island.