Decline and Recovery of the Island Fox: A Case Study for Population Recovery

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2010-08-23
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
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Native only to the California Channel Islands, the island fox is the smallest canid in North America. Populations on four of the islands were threatened to extinction in the 1990s due to human-mediated predation and disease. This is the first account of the natural history and ecology of the island fox, illustrating both the vulnerability of island ecosystems and the efficacy of cooperative conservation measures. It explains in detail the intense conservation actions required to recover fox populations, such as captive breeding and reintroduction, and large-scale ecosystem manipulation. These actions were successful due in large part to extraordinary collaboration among the scientists, managers and public advocates involved in the recovery effort. The book also examines the role of some aspects of island fox biology, characteristic of the 'island syndrome', in facilitating their recovery, including high productivity and an apparent adaptation to periodic genetic bottlenecks.

Author Biography

Timothy J. Coonan is a US National Park Service Biologist at Channel Islands National Park, California. He has led the park's island fox recovery program since 1999. Catherin A. Schwemm is an Ecologist for the US National Park Service in Flagstaff, Arizona. In 1993 she began the island fox monitoring program for Channel Islands National Park, California, and she has been a member of the Island fox Conservation Working Group since 1999. David K. Garcelon is President and Founder of the non-profit Institute for Wildlife Studies in Arcata, California. His research activities have included long-term work on population demography, captive breeding, movement patterns, disease exposure, and behavior.

Table of Contents

Forewordp. xii
Acknowledgmentsp. xiv
Introductionp. 1
Evolution and geneticsp. 5
Descriptionp. 5
Dwarfism and the island syndromep. 7
Evolution of the island foxp. 8
Island foxes in the paleoenvironmentp. 12
The peculiar generic status of the island foxp. 13
Genetic management of captive island foxesp. 15
Future of wild populationsp. 20
Social structure, reproduction, mortality and survivorship, and population dynamicsp. 21
Social organization and reproductive behaviorp. 22
Mortality and survivorshipp. 24
Population abundance and dynamicsp. 27
Factors affecting population dynamicsp. 30
Modeling island fox population dynamicsp. 32
Summaryp. 33
Food habits, habitat use, activity patterns, and dispersalp. 34
Food habitsp. 34
Dispersal and travelp. 38
Home rangep. 39
Habitat usep. 40
Activity patternsp. 41
Summaryp. 42
Golden eagles and the decline on the northern islandsp. 43
Detecting changep. 43
Determining the causep. 47
Golden eagle colonization of the northern islandsp. 50
The vulnerability of island foxes to diurnal aerial predatorsp. 56
Ecosystem recovery: Predators and prey on the northern Channel Islandsp. 58
Golden eagle removalp. 58
Long-term ecosystem recovery actionsp. 66
Summaryp. 71
Disease and decline on Santa Catalina Islandp. 73
Declining populationsp. 73
Initial resultsp. 75
Was disease the cause of the decline?p. 75
Recommendations for population recoveryp. 76
Testing CDV vaccinep. 77
Recovery actions: Captive breeding of island foxesp. 81
Captive breeding efforts on the northern islandsp. 81
Methodology and techniquesp. 82
Demographic and genetic objectives of captive breedingp. 92
Low reproductive successp. 93
Summaryp. 98
Recovery actions: Reintroduction and translocationp. 100
Translocation on Santa Catalinap. 100
Reintroduction on Santa Catalinap. 102
Reintroduction program on the northern islandsp. 103
Success of reintroductionp. 111
Summaryp. 113
Reproductive biology, by Cheryl Asap. 115
Reproductive cyclesp. 116
Captive breedingp. 117
Results of the monitoring studyp. 123
Summaryp. 127
Diseases of island foxes, by Linda Munsonp. 129
Disease in island populationsp. 130
Could viral disease explain the population declines?p. 131
Do other viruses infect island foxes?p. 133
Do non-viral pathogens infect island foxes?p. 134
Parasites infecting island foxesp. 134
Non-infectious diseases in island foxesp. 138
Genetic diversity versus disease resistancep. 140
Disease as a cause of deathp. 141
Overall health of the island fox populationsp. 142
Zoos, education, and public participationp. 144
Public advocacyp. 144
The role of zoosp. 146
Tachi and Finneganp. 149
Environmental educationp. 152
Summaryp. 152
Managing recovery: Cooperative conservation, politics, and the Endangered Species Actp. 154
Stakeholders and recoveryp. 154
A model for management: the Island Fox Conservation Working Groupp. 156
Listing the island fox as endangeredp. 158
Changes in island fox management due to listingp. 159
The benefits and challenges of ESA listingp. 163
Conclusionp. 165
The ecological role of island foxesp. 167
Introductionp. 167
Backgroundp. 167
Prey responsep. 169
Competitorsp. 174
Island communities without foxesp. 176
Implications for research and managementp. 177
Conclusionp. 180
Statusp. 180
Futurep. 181
Referencesp. 185
Indexp. 207
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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