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Foxes were brought to Catalina Island by the Native People.

By Alexa Johnson

This is true. Research indicates that foxes were brought by Native Americans from the Northern California Channel Islands to the Southern Channel Islands, including Catalina. The foxes' canid ancestors, grey foxes, had floated out to the Northern Channel Islands on rafts of debris as far back as 16,000 years ago. This was when ocean levels were lower than they are today.

Ongoing radiocarbon dating has placed foxes on Catalina as far back as 6,000 years ago. While 4000 B.C. probably doesn’t represent the arrival of the first fox on Catalina, it’s the earliest date known to science for the life form on the Island. Thousands of years of isolation has resulted in six endemic subspecies on each of the larger Channel Islands (Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, San Miguel, Santa Catalina, San Clemente and San Nicolas).

Foxes were highly regarded by the natives. They were kept as semi-domesticated pets and considered sacred animals. They played a prominent role in the spiritual lives of the Tongva, with many of the people’s ceremonies, songs, dances and legends concerning the fox.


DID YOU KNOW…The Tongva are still around today?

Issue #30 / All About the Tongva


Island Ingenuity
Quid Pro Quo
Fact or Fiction: Isle Foxes Brought by Tongva
Did You Know … Tongva Still Around  

Photo by Jack Baldelli.

Foxes were considered sacred animals by Native Americans and possibly traded from one island to another through an extensive trade network.

Missed recent issues?
Issue #1 / All About Bison

Issue #2 / All About Birds

Issue #3 / All About Plants
Issue #4 / All About Eagles
Issue #5 / All About Ravens & Crows
Issue #6 / All About Natives & Invasives  
Issue #7 / All About Rain
Issue #8 / All About Bison Roundup
Issue #9 / All About Foxes
Issue #10 / All About Weeds
Issue #11 / All About Eagle Hatchlings
Issue #12 / All About Snakes
Issue #13 / All About Diurnal Raptors
Issue #14 / All About Diurnal Raptors II
Issue #15 / All About Giants & Dwarves
Issue #16 / All About Fire Ecology
Issue #17 / All About Mule Deer
Issue #18 / All About Feral Cats
Issue #19 / All About Acorn Woodpeckers
Issue #20 / All About Tachi the Fox
Issue #21 / All About Observing Nature
Issue #22 / All About 2013 Bald Eagle Update
Issue #23 / All About Invasive Plants
Issue #24 / All About Poisonous Plants
Issue #25 / All About the Value of Nature
Issue #26 / All About Edible Invasives
Issue #27 / All About Plants in Summer
Issue #28 / All About Marine Ecosystems
Issue #29 / All About Dominant Rocks



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