Sharing moments in time…

Channel Island Fox


We went out to Santa Rosa Island a couple of weeks ago and spent 4 nights camping.  Every morning, I got up early with the hopes of capturing a photo of a Channel Island Fox.  These little foxes are unique to the Channel Islands (and each island has its own subspecies) and were very close to going extinct.  Until about the 1960s, the islands were inhabited by Bald Eagles who mostly eat fish.  As the Bald Eagle population was decimated by hunting and by DDT poisoning, Golden Eagles moved in from the mainland.  The Golden Eagles feasted on the island fox populations with the Santa Rosa population going down to only 14 foxes .  To save the foxes, they were rounded up and bred in captivity on the islands.  With the recent relocation of the Golden Eagles from the Isands and the reintroduction of the Bald Eagles, it was possible to reintroduce the foxes to the wild.  The foxes are now thriving on the Islands in what is thought to be one of the most successful reintroductions of an endangered species to an area.  The Santa Rosa population is now estimated to be in the range of 500 foxes.  In any case, I was “skunked” during my morning photo walks except for a quick glimpse of a fox as it dove into a nearby canyon.  As happen many times while trying to photograph wildlife, the opportunity came when we least expected it.  My wife and I were sitting in a small canyon and waiting for our boat to the mainland on the last day when I saw this little face coming out of the brush……

"Hi guys"!

“Hi guys”!

I told my wife not to move for fear of it running back into the weeds but he instead came down and spent about 5 minutes with us – getting a drink of water and then returning to the brush.  He didn’t seem very scared of us as he came pretty close but he certainly kept an eye on us for any threatening gestures.  I think this next shot captures how we felt about this incredible way to end our stay on the island……Priceless!

"Have a nice trip home"

“Have a nice trip home”

 

14 responses

  1. Nice catch. Priceless indeed!

    August 7, 2013 at 10:29 am

    • Thanks Victor – I can’t tell you how lucky we felt for this visit!

      August 7, 2013 at 10:41 am

  2. You got home eventually :D. I also incidentally met a fox in Yosemite National Park. I was so scared even I was sitting in the car with closed window. You guys are so brave.

    August 7, 2013 at 10:39 am

    • Smilewanderer – Foxes are MUCH more afraid of us than we need to be of them – and much more photogenic! I’m glad you got to see one in Yosemite – they are always a treat!

      August 7, 2013 at 10:52 am

  3. Terri smith

    Such a nice story and such a cute little face, glad you both got to meet him! Tell your wife I miss her!

    August 7, 2013 at 10:49 am

  4. Cynthia Privoznik

    Great shots! About two years ago I took my early morning bike ride and noticed something on the way back and stopped and backed up to see 3 gorgeous kit foxes lounging outside their little dirt hole dens. They were so adorable – very healthy and curious. Some ducked down the holes to then poke their heads out to look at me. Of course I had no camera on me. Later a burrowing Owl lived at the holes but I never saw the foxes again. HAven’t seen the owl either.

    August 7, 2013 at 10:58 am

  5. So expressive! 🙂

    August 7, 2013 at 11:20 am

  6. These are awesome. What an exciting catch!

    August 7, 2013 at 11:27 am

    • Thanks James – we consider ourselves very lucky

      August 10, 2013 at 12:26 pm

  7. michaelmulholland

    Awesome

    August 7, 2013 at 11:54 am

    • Thanks Michael!

      August 10, 2013 at 12:27 pm

      • michaelmulholland

        You’re most welcome

        August 10, 2013 at 1:15 pm

  8. lisalday111711

    I captured several shots of the grey fox on Santa Catalina Island. What a thrill…I believe they are very closely related is if not the same species.
    Thanks for sharing
    Lisa

    August 7, 2013 at 8:14 pm

    • My pleasure Lisa – I think they are the same species – sure are cute little things!

      August 10, 2013 at 12:27 pm

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