Santa Cruz Island foxes faced bleak odds 16 years ago. But in a win for the tiny gray animals, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that the Santa Cruz Island fox, plus two additional subspecies of island fox, have recovered so well that they can be removed from the Endangered Species List, marking the fastest recovery of any mammal under the Endangered Species Act.
When the population catastrophically fell from 1,500 to fewer than 100, The Nature Conservancy—together with the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the California Department of Fish and Game, and the Institute for Wildland Studies —launched the Island Fox Recovery Program, an intensive, science-based recovery effort to save the island fox.