The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced that the Sierra Nevada distinct population segment (DPS) of the Sierra Nevada red fox will be listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.
Using the best scientific and commercial information available, the Service estimated that the Sierra Nevada population is comprised of about 18 to 39 individuals. These foxes are vulnerable to wildfire and drought, competition with coyotes, decreases in prey numbers and widespread hybridization with non-native foxes.
“Our partners are putting conservation practices into place that will that help minimize forest fragmentation and limit activities that could disturb the dens of these rare foxes,” said Paul Souza, regional director of the Service’s California - Great Basin region. “Their actions are critical to the recovery of the species.”
Collaborative conservation efforts involving federal conservation agencies, the Department of Defense, state wildlife agencies, universities and the private sector include developing conservation strategies and management plans that promote the long-term conservation of Sierra Nevada red fox habitat.
The Sierra Nevada red fox is specially adapted to its native subalpine habitat, which is characterized by heavy snow, short growing seasons, and a mixture of open and forested areas. Despite its name, Sierra Nevada red foxes can be either mostly red, mostly black, or a greyish brown cross phase.
Historically, the fox ranged from the Oregon-Washington border to the southern end of the Sierra Nevada. Today, the Sierra Nevada red fox occurs in two areas – California’s Sierra Nevada and the southern Cascade Range of Oregon and California. Sightings of the Sierra Nevada population have been limited to federal lands in Alpine, Fresno, Inyo, Madera, Mono and Tuolumne counties. The Cascade population will not be listed.
The listing decision for the Sierra Nevada DPS of the Sierra Nevada red fox will publish in the Federal Register on August 3, 2021. The rule will go into effect 30 days after the publication date. The final rule can be viewed at www.regulations.gov by searching under docket number FWS–R8–ES–2019–0006.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information about our work and the people who make it happen, visit the Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office website. Connect with us via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Flickr.