Endangered Species Day
Endangered Species Day is on May 18!
Started in 2006 by the United States Congress,
Endangered Species Day
is a celebration of the nation’s wildlife and wild places. The goal of Endangered Species Day is simple—to educate people about the importance of protecting rare, threatened and endangered animal and plant species.
Catalina Island has many unique plants and animals;
some that are vulnerable and some that have celebrated conservation stories
– like the Catalina Island Fox.
In 1999, the
Catalina Island Fox
population plummeted to a mere 100 from 1,300 due to a canine distemper virus (CDV) brought to the Island by a non-native raccoon. An adaptive management program – which included captive breeding, vaccinations against CDV, translocations and monitoring – restored the fox population to its pre-crash numbers. In 2004, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the Catalina Island Fox as Endangered. In 2016, the fox was downlisted to Threatened, a decision that recognized their incredible recovery in the past decade due to the continued conservation efforts of Conservancy staff.
Experts say that the recovery of Island foxes was the fastest of any mammal ever listed under the Endangered Species Act.
Today, biologists estimate that there are 2,047 foxes on the Island, the largest number recorded since the Conservancy started counting the foxes 18 years ago!
While the Catalina Island Fox is thriving, it is the only Channel Island fox that maintains a Threatened status on the Endangered Species List. It is still at risk because it has no natural immunity to many diseases on the mainland that are easily brought over by the 1 million visitors Catalina has every year.
Along with the Catalina Island Fox, there are still animals and plants on and around Catalina Island that need extra attention.
Blue whales that visit the waters around Catalina Island are Endangered and the following animals on Catalina are rare and in possible decline:
· The Santa Catalina Island Shrew
· The Two-Striped Garter Snake
· The Avalon Hairstreak
· Townsend's Big-Eared Bat
The Conservancy continues to work hard to maintain a healthy balance between protecting Catalina's unique environment and serving the needs of a diverse public. On May 18, honor Endangered Species Day by spreading awareness of our vulnerable species and
help support the efforts of our conservation staff.