Tuesday, December 07, 2010

2 more rare red foxes confirmed in Sierra Nevada

Federal wildlife biologists have confirmed sightings of two more Sierra Nevada red foxes that once were thought to be extinct. Scientists believe the foxes are related to another that was photographed this summer near Yosemite National Park. More importantly, they say, DNA samples show enough diversity in the Sierra Nevada red foxes to suggest a "fairly strong population" of the animals may secretly be doing quite well in the rugged mountains about 90 miles south of Reno. The first confirmed sighting of the subspecies in two decades came in August when a remote camera captured the image of a female fox in the Humboldt–Toiyabe National Forest near Sonora Pass. Forest Service officials confirmed Friday that two more foxes — one male and one female — were photographed in September in the neighboring Stanislaus National Forest, about 4 miles from the original. That indicates there is the "continued persistence of a genetically unique population of Sierra Nevada red fox in the southern Sierra Nevada, rather than a single individual," the agency said...more

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