The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Ileene Anderson, Center for Biological Diversity, (323) 654-5943,

Habitat Protection Sought to Save Endangered San Joaquin Kit Fox From Extinction


The Center for Biological Diversity and Los Padres Forest Watch today petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to establish critical habitat for the endangered and declining San Joaquin kit fox.
While the species has been protected under the Endangered Species Act
for more than 40 years, it continues to decline in the face of habitat
loss. Establishing critical habitat will protect the limited areas
where kit fox still persist and provide additional areas for the
animals to spread to, making recovery possible.

"Establishing critical habitat for the kit fox is
absolutely key to stopping its spiral toward extinction," said Ileene
Anderson, a biologist with the Center. "Existing conservation
mechanisms are clearly not working. The Fish and Wildlife Service has
the obligation to protect crucial lands so kit foxes can survive and

The San Joaquin kit fox, the smallest member of the fox
family at about five pounds, used to range throughout California's San
Joaquin Valley. Conversion of natural grassland and shrubland habitats
to agriculture, oil and gas production, and other development has
eliminated much of the fox's living space. Currently the animals are
clinging to a tenuous existence along the edges of the San Joaquin
Valley, with only three remaining core habitat areas: western Kern
County, the Carrizo Plain and Ciervo-Panoche Valley.

In addition to habitat destruction, kit foxes suffer
from rodenticide and pesticide poisoning. Recently proposed, poorly
sited industrial solar developments also threaten some of the last
remaining core habitat zones. A recent Fish and Wildlife Service review of the status of the fox found population declines and local extirpations with no signs of recovery.

A recent study shows
that species with critical habitat designations for two or more years
are more than twice as likely to have an improving population trend and
less than half as likely to be declining.

At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature — to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters and climate that species need to survive.

(520) 623-5252