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Environment and Energy

Channel Islands fox population recovers after near extinction

Nature Conservancy

An animal species unique to the Channel Islands could soon be removed from the federal Threatened and Endangered Species List.

Federal reports show four subspecies of the Island Fox found on six of the eight Channel Islands are making a remarkable comeback. As a result the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is initiating a review process to see if the animals should remain protected.

Experts say the recovery is the fastest population rebound recorded for any land mammal in the U.S. thanks to a robust restoration plan.

One big part of that plan was the removal of the non-native Golden Eagle, a predator that nearly drove the fox to extinction.

Christina Boser is with the Nature Conservancy and works on Santa Cruz Island.

She says changes to island plants and animals are magnified because of their isolation. 

"These islands can be very vulnerable to things like new predators or disease, but they also have this tremendous ability to recover very quickly because they are isolated and the Island fox is a fantastic example of that," said Boser.

Should the fox be removed from the list, it would still be closely monitored for changes to its population.