Excited Yosemite National Park officials yesterday reported the first confirmed sighting of a rare Sierra Nevada red fox in the park in nearly 100 years. The Sierra Nevada red fox of California is one of the rarest mammals in North America, likely consisting of fewer than 50 individuals.
Park wildlife biologists had gone on a five-day backcountry trip to the far northern part of the park to check on previously deployed motion-sensitive cameras. They documented a sighting of the fox(Vulpes vulpes necator) on two separate instances (December 13 and January 4) within the park boundary.
“We are thrilled to hear about the sighting of the Sierra Nevada red fox, one of the most rare and elusive animals in the Sierra Nevada,” stated Don Neubacher, Yosemite National Park Superintendent. “National parks like Yosemite provide habitat for all wildlife and it is encouraging to see that the red fox was sighted in the park.”
The nearest verified sightings of the rare foxes have been north of the park in the Sonora Pass area, where biologists from U.C. Davis, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and U.S. Forest Service have been monitoring a small population, first discovered in 2010.
These Sierra Nevada red fox detections are funded by the Yosemite Conservancy, which raises money for restoration of trails, animal monitoring, youth programs, and more.
Photo: National Park Service / Story tip from Mike McGinley