CSU Stanislaus team still looking for infected fox to treat
Wildlife workers seeking a sick kit fox to capture and treat didn't get the animal they were looking for Sunday night, but a healthy make kit fox that was trapped and given a preventative treatment for mange and a physical exam before being released in the downtown area.
Scarcoptic mange, a parasitic infection caused by skin mites, has been infecting San Joaquin kit foxes, an endangered species in the region, and the California State University Stanislaus Endangered Species Recovery Program has been trapping sick animals and taking them to Bakersfield for several weeks of treatment before releasing them where they were trapped.
Another sick animal was spotted recently in the downtown area, and three traps caught the healthy fox and two cats.
The cats were released, and so was the fox, but not until he was examined and treated.
The Endangered Species Recovery Program's Abby Gwinn said the animal was a healthy adult male and with his treatment, he should stay mange-free for six months.
The traps will be baited again and reset to try and capture the sick animal needing treatment.
The mange infection ravaging the kit fox population is relatively new but deadly. It has cut the fox population in the area by about 50 percent over the past 5 years and is nearly always fatal without treatment.
It is caused by microscopic mites that burrow into the animal's skin and infections lead to large areas of hair loss and scabs covering most of the animals body.
It is treatable, though.
Several animals have been trapped, treated and released in the Taft area this year.