Rare Sierra Nevada red fox spotted in Yosemite park | SierraSun.com

Rare Sierra Nevada red fox spotted in Yosemite park

The Associated Press

In this Dec. 13, 2014 image provided by the National Park Service from a remote motion-sensitive camera, a Sierra Nevada red fox walks in Yosemite National Park, Calif. The first confirmed sighting of the rare fox in Yosemite National Park in nearly a century has been confirmed by park officials. Park wildlife biologists who were on a backcountry trip to the far northern part of the park documented two sightings since early December. The Sierra Nevada red fox of California is one of the rarest mammals in North America, with likely fewer than 50 left. (AP Photo/National Park Service)

SAN FRANCISCO — The first confirmed sighting of a rare Sierra Nevada red fox in Yosemite National Park in nearly a century has been confirmed by park officials.

Park wildlife biologists who were on a backcountry trip to the far northern part of the park documented two sightings since early December.

The Sierra Nevada red fox of California is one of the rarest mammals in North America, with likely fewer than 50 left.

The nearest verified occurrences of Sierra Nevada red foxes have been in the Sonora Pass area, north of the park, where biologists say a small population was first documented in 2010.

Prior to that, the last verified sighting of a Sierra Nevada red fox in that area was two decades ago. The species hasn't been seen in the park in nearly 100 years.

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Reddish-orange in color and lanky in shape, with a long, bushy tail, a fox that was thought to possibly be a Sierra Nevada red fox was spotted several times near Donner Lake in October and November 2013.

However, wildlife biologists from the University of California, Davis, determined the animal’s DNA was of a non-native red fox, which reside in the San Joaquin Valley and foothills but are not known to venture into the Sierra Nevada.