Decline and Recovery of the Island Fox: A Case Study for Population Recovery (Ecology, Biodiversity and Conservation)

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9780521887113: Decline and Recovery of the Island Fox: A Case Study for Population Recovery (Ecology, Biodiversity and Conservation)

Native only to the California Channel Islands, the island fox is the smallest canid in North America. Populations on four of the islands were threatened to extinction in the 1990s due to human-mediated predation and disease. This is the first account of the natural history and ecology of the island fox, illustrating both the vulnerability of island ecosystems and the efficacy of cooperative conservation measures. It explains in detail the intense conservation actions required to recover fox populations, such as captive breeding and reintroduction, and large-scale ecosystem manipulation. These actions were successful due in large part to extraordinary collaboration among the scientists, managers and public advocates involved in the recovery effort. The book also examines the role of some aspects of island fox biology, characteristic of the 'island syndrome', in facilitating their recovery, including high productivity and an apparent adaptation to periodic genetic bottlenecks.

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Book Description:

Written for both conservation biologists and general readers, this book is the first account of the rare island fox, which lives only on six southern California islands. The species was driven nearly to extinction in the 1990s but has since recovered due to extraordinary conservation measures.

About the Author:

Cathy Schwemm is a lecturer at California State University, Channel Islands in the Department of Environmental Science and Resource Management, and runs her own ecological consulting company. She obtained her BS from Colorado State University, her MS from California State University, Northridge, and her Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Cathy worked for the National Park Service for nearly 20 years, including 14 years at Channel Islands National Park. In 1993 she began the island fox monitoring program for the Park Service, and has been a member of the Island Fox Conservation Working Group since 1999. In 2005 she and Dave Garcelon co-edited the Proceedings of the Sixth California Island Symposium. She currently serves on the board of directors of Friends of the Island Fox.

Tim Coonan is a biologist for the US National Park Service at Channel Islands National Park, where he has directed the terrestrial monitoring and restoration programs since 1992. He has been studying island foxes for 17 years. Since 1999 Tim has directed the park's island fox recovery program and has led the multi-agency Island Fox Conservation Working Group. Tim's efforts to recover island foxes have been recognized by the National Park Service, who twice named him as its Pacific West Region Natural Resource Manager of the Year. Tim has authored or co-authored over 25 publications on island foxes. Tim holds a BS in Biology from the University of Notre Dame, and an MS in Biology from Northern Arizona University. Tim has worked for the National Park Service for over 25 years. Prior to his work at Channel Islands National Park Tim worked at Death Valley National Park, where he studied desert bighorn and pupfish.

David Garcelon is the founder and President of the Institute for Wildlife Studies, headquartered in Arcata, California. He has been involved in conservation programs around the world, including Japan, Russia, Swaziland, Kazakhstan, and the Mariana Islands. He holds an MS degree in Wildlife Management from Humboldt State University where he is an associate faculty member and both lectures and serves on graduate committees. David began studying island foxes in 1988 and has worked with all of the six subspecies. His research has included long-term work on population demography, captive breeding, movement patterns, disease exposure, and behavior. Along with the Center for Biological Diversity he co-signed the petition to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to provide federal protection for four species of the island fox under the Endangered Species Act. David sponsored the first meeting of experts to examine the data associated with population declines of island foxes on the northern Channel Islands and has been active in the Island Fox Working Group since its inception. He continues to be involved in research and recovery efforts for the island fox, as well as several other federally listed species such as the San Clemente loggerhead shrike, San Clemente sage sparrow, and desert tortoise. David is currently working to restore wolverine populations in California and is helping develop new techniques for monitoring wildlife populations using automated telemetry.

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