Thanks to a science-based conservation strategy, the world’s smallest fox rebounded from near extinction in just a decade.
Three subspecies of island foxes were removed from Endangered Species protection in what is the fastest recovery of any mammal on the list under the Endangered Species Act. In 2004, they experienced a 90 percent population decline and received federal listing. Breeding in human care, aided by the Santa Barbara Zoo, and other emergency actions helped in their recovery.
A Santa Barbara Zoo staff member assists the National Park Service in monitoring released island foxes.
Knowledge and Understanding
The Santa Barbara Zoo was the first institution to breed foxes on the mainland, allowing us to add to our natural history knowledge of this rare species.
Santa Barbara Zoo veterinary staff are on-call to assist with procedures and emergencies on the Islands.