July 13, 2017
- as seen by -Kelsey Kovner
Just off the coast of Santa Barbara in California, is the beautiful Channel Islands National Park. Due to its isolation from the mainland and the wonders of evolution, the islands that make up the park are home to the tiny and adorable Channel Islands fox (above). I had heard rumors of this special species of fox that lives there, but I was unprepared for how different it was from the mainland fox.
The island fox is significantly smaller than its mainland counterpart and comparable in size to a house cat. In addition to being diminutive, this animal seems to ignore human visitors to the island, regularly crossing paths with tourists as they nonchalantly exploring their island domain. A species like this, endemic to such a small area, is incredibly fragile. Protecting its habitat is the best way to ensure its future. The good news for the island fox is that the Channel Islands is a well-protected national park. Endemic animals in other areas may not be so lucky.