Saturday, April 18, 2009

Channel Island Fox

Today we went out to the Boneyard Arts Festival in Urbana and ran into Andrew at some sort of weird (fake?) punk fashion show. He went to the other galleries with us. We also ran into one of my co-worker's mother who does wildlife photography. 

Goal for the week 7.5 hrs
I had not added an internal armature to the sphinx and I noticed its front legs were sinking in on themselves so I added one today.
work on sphinx

Photo by the U.S National Park Service
The Channel Island fox (Urocyon littoralis) is dwarf fox related to gray foxes that lives only on the Channel Islands of California. They are the smallest foxes in North America at only around 4 lbs and standing 6 inches at the shoulder. They split off gray foxes after becoming isolated on the islands about 18000 years ago and have since become a separate species. Aside from their small size they are also different from gray foxes in that they have lost two vertebra. They are critically endangered for a variety of reasons. To begin several invasive species were introduced to the islands such as bison, cats, goats, and feral pigs. The bald eagles that had been on the island (and had not been preying on the foxes) died off due to problems with DDT and the golden eagle which had priorly not really inhabited the island was drawn in by the feral pigs and took the bald eagle's place. The golden eagle as a secondary prey item started preying on the foxes which were not well adjusted to having a regular predator around. Then the declining foxes which had been on an island mostly free of canine diseases picked up distemper from domestic dogs which wiped out quite a lot of them. Then in an effort to protect the endangered Loggerhead Shrike the US Navy was culling the foxes to keep them from preying on the birds, they stopped in 2000 as the foxes had become critically endangered as well. 

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