'Tis the season of Catalina Island fox trapping!
This annual event occurs over the course of several weeks and allows the biologists to weigh the foxes, give them tooth exams and check for ear mites, fleas, ticks and other parasites. The foxes are also inoculated for canine distemper and rabies. Young pups receive pit tags just under their skin for positive identification. Select foxes receive radio collars for weekly monitoring from the air.
It has been nearly two decades since the fox population faced extinction after being decimated by a virulent strain of canine distemper virus, thought to have been brought to the Island by a stowaway raccoon. The population dropped dangerously low - only an estimated 100 individuals remained.
Thanks to a captive breeding program, vaccinating against the virus, and annual monitoring, the Catalina Island fox population has completely recovered. There are now over 2,000 foxes on the Island, the largest population to date.
Thank you to our incredible team of biologists for your hard work and continual efforts in caring for the Island’s beloved endemic foxes!