Island Gray Fox
Photograph by George H.H. Huey, Corbis
With fewer than a thousand individuals left, the island gray fox (pictured) may not be able to outfox extinction, according to the new Wildlife Conservation Society report "Rarest of the Rare." (See pictures of some of the rarest species in the United States.)
The island gray—the smallest fox in the United States—is found only on California's Channel Islands (see map). The tiny mammal has succumbed to predation from golden eagles as well as diseases from domestic dogs introduced to the islands, experts say. (Related: "Wild Pig Hunt Aims to Save California Island Foxes.")
"Extinction is tragic, especially if it is preventable," according to the report, which was released earlier this month. The paper highlights a dozen species listed as critically endangered, and therefore most at risk of extinction, by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
The rare species—a mix of mammals, amphibians, reptiles, and birds—will also be featured in the 2010-2011 edition of the WCS book State of the Wild: A Global Portrait.
Published April 26, 2010