For the first time in nearly 100 years, the rare Sierra Nevada red fox was spotted in Yosemite National Park.
The red fox is one of 14 mammals protected by California and was last seen on motion-sensitive cameras on Dec. 13 and Jan. 4. Some park officials say that the fox is a different one but they’re not so sure.
“The chance of running into them is very unusual,” park spokeswoman Kari Cobb said.
California’s Sierra Nevada red fox is one of the most endangered animals in North America, Cobb said. Fewer than 50 of the bushy-tailed animals even exist on the continent.The Red Fox was last seen in the year of 1915, about 100 years. This is a fascinating discovery for us humans.
Photographs of the Sierra Nevada red fox were taken in 1990 during a study at the Lassen National Forest in California, north of Yosemite. Video cameras set up in the forest captured images of the reddish-orange colored fox. In 2010, a red fox was finally captured on video, in Sonora Pass north of Yosemite.
Researchers analyzed samples of the fox and they confirmed its DNA came from a Sierra Nevada red fox.
Researchers will continue to look for the Sierra Nevada red fox. They have set up hair snare stations near video cameras to capture hair samples from the fox. Researchers hope to study the hair DNA to learn more about the fox and determine whether it is connected to the red fox seen at the Sonora Pass.
The latest sighting in Yosemite, Cobb said, is a good sign. We will soon see the return of the red fox in the next few years.