This one was too cute not to share: a story about an adorable Catalina Island fox that was reunited with its mother after some significant effort on the part of wildlife biologists on the island.
In May, the pup was found on a dirt road in the interior of the island, the Catalina Island Conservancy said in a press release this week. The pup was so young—staff estimated less than two weeks—that its eyes were still closed.
Staff cared for the fox until it was healthy and strong enough to begin the reunification process.
Staff began by returning the fox to its natal area, then saturated the area with fox traps, hoping to capture the mother and assess her physical condition.
Several foxes were captured, including one that showed signs of recent lactation, the conservancy said. When introduced to the female fox, the pup began to nurse immediately, officials said.
However the next morning, the pup was not able to keep up with its mother and retreated, confused, back its kennel. Biologists were able to track the mother through a radio controlled collar, and saw that in the cover of darkness, the mother returned and collected her pup.
“We’ll never know how the pup became separated from her family,” wildlife biologist Lara Brenner said in a written statement. “She could have been dropped while the mother was her between dens, or even abandoned. Now, in her stronger condition, she has a much better chance of surviving with the help of her family.”
Biologists will continue monitoring the pup’s family, officials said.
Catalina Island foxes are endemic to the island, meaning they are unique there and found nowhere else in the world. The fox is federally protected under the Endangered Species Act.
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