Sierra Nevada red fox population proposed as endangered

No more than 50 Sierra Nevada red foxes are believed to remain near Yosemite National Park.
©U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Pacific Southwest Region

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed listing a population of the Sierra Nevada red fox as endangered. A subspecies of the red fox, the Sierra Nevada red fox (Vulpes vulpes necator) is one of the rarest mammals in North America, with fewer than 100 individuals believed to remain. Two population segments are believed to exist — one near Yosemite National Park and another in the southern Cascade Range of Oregon and California. By the early 2000s, some biologists believed the Sierra Nevada population to be extinct before a small remnant population was confirmed in 2010. That group, considered a distinct population segment, likely has no more than 50 adults and may have as few as 10, prompting the USFWS to consider it — but not the Cascade population — for listing. It is at risk of extinction, the Service concluded, “due to a variety of factors, including the effects of small population size and continued hybridization with non-native red foxes.”  The proposal is open for public comment until March 9.

Read more here from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.