The Sierra Nevada red fox is one of the most elusive mammals on the planet, living in solitary and only coming out at night. It’s believed that there are only 50 of the creatures still living in the area, and Yosemite National park just spotted one on its trail cam.
Pulled from a camera taken in October, park rangers recently released an image of the fox in the park:
(1/3) This photo was captured last October and recently retrieved from a backcountry camera, as part of an effort supported by @YoseConservancy to study the rare Sierra Nevada red fox that lives in and around the park's highest mountains. pic.twitter.com/hSQbWSHbbU— Yosemite National Park (@YosemiteNPS) April 3, 2020
“This is great news,” Frank Dean, president of the Yosemite Conservancy, said in a statement. “Amazing photos like this, combined with field surveys and genetic analysis, are helping researchers better understand these elusive mammals.”
In early 2015, through a Conservancy-supported project, biologists reported the first sighting of a Sierra Nevada red fox within Yosemite National Park borders in 99 years. The fox, a candidate for the endangered species list, is extremely rare in its namesake range. Biologists have counted startlingly few individuals in and around the park, and they believe the Yosemite-area population may vanish entirely without intervention.
The Yosemite Conservancy continues its efforts to conserve the rare species of foxes, which may have seen its population numbers dwindle down to just 10 adults remaining. Using camera and dogs to sniff out scat, the conservation agency is attempting to include the animals on the endangered species list. The the rare few remaining, their existences is threatened by logging, livestock grazing, off road vehicles and climate change.