Making a Comeback: The Channel Island Fox

Photos copyright Dan Richards/NPS Used with permission. scw

Smaller than a house cat, the Santa Cruz Island fox is king of the roost on his very own island; not every critter can lay claim to such a captive empire. And these little beasts are flourishing back on their native soil, years after their numbers precariously dwindled.

In Nature Conservancy’s Spring 2011 issue, writer Brendan Borrell gives a taste of Channel Island life with his article “Recovery Artist” about how the once endangered fox  is now well on the rebound along with other native species – like the bald eagle and a host of native plants – that called this wind-swept island home.

The article is a heartwarming conservation read of Man Making Things Right, and we especially like the tone of the scientists who are out there in the field.

Borrell writes:

Perhaps the only vexing change on Santa Cruz Island is that Lyndal Laughrin has to keep a close eye on his socks. Laughrin is the manager of the University of California’s field station, where he has worked since 1965, when he began his doctoral research on the island fox. The mischievous pups are particularly fond of stinky hiking socks, Laughrin says.

“Usually they only take the left one,” he says.

 — Brenda Rees, editor