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Old Baldy, Canada | photo by Cameron Schaus

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   Conservation Issues of the Ventana Chapter | chapter wide

Measure C would be bad for the kit fox

San Joaquin Kit Fox

Photo by US Fish & Wildlife

The excessive and scattered growth allowed under Measure C would further endanger the San Joaquin kit fox, a species listed as endangered for 30 years, primarily because of loss of habitat. Many other special status animal and plant species would suffer losses if Measure C were to pass.

The San Joaquin kit fox is the smallest member of the dog family in North America, stands only 9-12 inches high, and weighs about 5 pounds. It was listed as endangered by the State of California in 1971. Only 7000 are thought to be left. Only 7% of their original habitat remains. Kit foxes eat small rodents, insects, ground-nesting birds and some plants, predominantly grass.

Males and females live together year round, but may not share the same den. After the 2-5 pups are born, the mother cares for the litter, and she and the pups are dependent on food the father brings. Sometimes an older female pup stays longer and helps her mother raise the next litter.

Kit foxes use multiple dens, switching location every few days to avoid predators such as coyotes, dogs, and golden eagles. One fox was tracked to 70 different dens during a two-year study. Other causes of death are motor vehicles, suffocation when grading equipment and bulldozers collapse their dens, poisons meant for rats and other rodents (sometimes ingested by eating a poisoned rodent), and starvation when their hunting grounds are converted to agriculture or development.

Although kit foxes can live up to seven years in the wild, 75% of them don’t survive to adulthood.


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