Framework

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A researcher releases one of four foxes trapped overnight recently as part of the effort to save the Catalina Island fox from extinction. In 1999, the Santa Catalina Island Conservancy and the Institute for Wildlife Studies launched a $2-million recovery program. It has been wildly successful.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times

Wildlife biologist Julie King retrieves a trap with one of four foxes collected overnight for monitoring.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times

King checks a fox for ear mites. A mask has been put on the animal to keep it calm during the examination.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times

A trapped fox awaits the attentions of wildlife biologists, who will examine it, give it any needed treatment and add it to their count before releasing it back into the wild.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times

A fox's teeth are checked to help determine its age.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times

Bite damage is evident on the left ear of one of trapped foxes.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times

Biologist Julie King gets ready to release one of the foxes.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times

Along the road near the botanical garden here, biologist Julie King and researcher Tyler Dvorak treat two foxes trapped as part of the project to save the Catalina Island fox. If the success of the effort continues, the fox may eventually be removed from the federal endangered species list.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times

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Catalina foxes' numbers on the rebound

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As part of Santa Catalina Island Conservancy monitoring, wildlife biologists recorded and treated foxes they trapped in Avalon. In one of the most successful and rapid recovery efforts of its kind, the number of federally endangered Catalina Island foxes today has reached 1,542, far more than before a 1999 outbreak of distemper almost wiped them out.

Read full story: Catalina Island fox makes astounding comeback

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