A recently-published study showed, subspecies of the Channel Island Fox called the San Nicolas Island, which only exists on the remotest of the eight Channel Islands of California are at low risk of extinction.

According to Phys.org, in the past 10 years, the San Nicolas Island fox population has lessened almost by half, with only 332 foxes left in 2016.

The research carried out by scientists from Montana State University, the University of Colorado, and Naval Base Ventura County, forecasted the sizes of the future fox population assuming that the present relatively dry environmental conditions persevere.

The foxes had cone extinct within five decades in just 2.5 percent of the simulations of the computer model. According to the paper's lead author Victoria Bakker, assistant research professor at Montana State University, the "relatively low extinction risk is good news" for the said fox species although they are not out of the woods

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Science Times - San Nicolas Island Fox Subspecies At Low Risk of Extinction; Island of the Blue Dolphins Sheds Light to This Lessening Mammalian Population
(Photo : Ken Bosma from Tucson, Arizona, USA on Wikimedia Commons)
On a recent trip the Channel Islands off the coast of California travelers had the pleasure of watching this mother fox and pup playing.

Effects of Climate Change

As a leading carnivore that lives on a tiny island with degraded and occupied habitats, they are possible to go through the impacts of climate change earlier and more extremely compared to other species.

A similar USA News Wall report specified that if climate change results in even more recurrent or serious droughts, the danger of foxes could increase significantly.

The study, Understanding extinction risk and resilience in an extremely small population facing climate and ecosystem change, published in Ecosphere, refers to tactics that could increase the resilience of the foxes to a changing climate and other shifts caused by humans that have added to their drop.

Natural specialist Francesca Ferrara, from the Naval Base Ventura County, said, the resource managers of the island are "focusing on biosecurity, restoration of habitat and food resources," and minimizing conflict between humans and wildlife. Biosecurity initiatives, specifically, have been drawn into the spotlight over the last year.

Ongoing Vaccinations and Monitoring Programs

Ferrara co-author of the study explained, there is ongoing vaccination and monitoring program in place to guarantee that no new invasive species or pathogens are establishing themselves on the island.

With the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, a population that has been formerly exposed to a disease, or pathogen that can rapidly be devastated by it, explained the study co-author.

Because of their isolation, the island foxes are threatened by diseases that typically circulate in mainland wildlife. Because they have never been bared and have no natural immunity, a pathogen that's mild to a mainland species could prove fatal to the island fox.

The famous setting for the 1960s children's novel Island of the Blue Dolphins, San Nicolas Island, drawing from the story of Juana Maria, a native Islander woman who spent 18 years all by himself on an island after people removed her in the mid-1830s.

To date, the island is functioning as a US naval station although according to the study author, San Nicolas Island has kept its sense of remoteness, not to mention, uniqueness.

Ferrara elaborated, the island fox really has a special place in her heart. They never stop delighting her, she added. They are bold, not to mention, curious. More so, the foxes' attitude and spunkiness are unparalleled.

Lastly, the environmental staff of the naval base is managing the wildlife, as well as the natural resources of the island in order to back the Department of Defense mission preparedness.

Related information about the Channel Island fox species is shown on Rick Coleman's YouTube video below:

 

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