YOSEMITE VILLAGE, CA (WTNH)– A rare Sierra Nevada red fox was sighted in Yosemite National Park for the first time in nearly 100 years.
The Sierra Nevada red fox of California is one of the rarest animals in North America, which likely consists of less than 50 individuals.
The National Park Service reports that park wildlife biologists spotted the fox after checking previously deployed motion-sensitive cameras. The biologists had to go on a 5 day back-country trip to the far northern part of the park to check the cameras.
The fox was seen on two separate instances, December 3rd and January 4th.
Wildlife Biologist in Yosemite National Park, Sarah Stock, stated “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. 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 sighting of the Sierra Nevada red fox was in the Sonora Pass area, where biologists were monitoring a small population, first documented in 2010.
Yosemite researchers will continue to observe the Sierra Nevada red fox with remote cameras. They also set up hair snare stations so they can obtain hair samples for genetic analysis. With that, the park can learn about the population and if the fox or foxes in Yosemite are genetically related to the individuals in the Sonora Pass area.
Stock added, “we’re excited to work across our boundary to join efforts with other researchers that will ultimately give these foxes the best chances for recovery.”
For more information, go to www.nps.gov.