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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Management and Conservation of San Joaquin Kit Foxes in Urban Environments

  • Author(s): Cypher, Brian L.
  • Van Horn Job, Christine L.
  • et al.

The San Joaquin kit fox is listed as federally Endangered and California Threatened, primarily due to habitat loss from agricultural, industrial, and urban developments. However, a population of kit foxes estimated at 200-400 persists within the city of Bakersfield, CA. This population appears to be demographically robust with a high probability of persistence. Thus, this population potentially could contribute to range-wide conservation and recovery efforts. The presence of this population in an urban environment creates management challenges. Management issues include human and pet safety, dens in inconvenient locations, and carcass disposal. Resolution of these issues generally is not difficult. Conservation challenges include roads and vehicles, rodenticides and other toxins, sports netting, den destruction during routine maintenance operations, interspecific competition and disease transmission, movement corridors, and regulatory policy. Although the Metropolitan Bakersfield Habitat Conservation Plan provides protective measures for kit foxes during new construction, such measures do not extend to operations, maintenance, and other routine activities. Furthermore, formal policies regarding management and conservation of urban kit foxes have not yet been developed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and California Department of Fish and Game, resulting in inconsistent responses to urban kit fox issues. Based on a public opinion survey, Bakersfield residents generally support conservation of urban kit foxes. Successful resolution of management issues will minimize conflicts and enhance efforts to conserve kit foxes.

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