The island fox is a small fox that is native to six of the eight Channel Islands of California. The foxes are believed to have "rafted" to the northern islands around 11-16,000 years ago and their small size is an adaptation to the limited resources available on the islands.
Since the island fox is geographically isolated, it has no immunity to parasites and diseases brought in from the mainland. In addition, the golden eagle (four times the size of the island fox) and human activities devastated fox numbers on several of the Channel Islands. There are six subspecies, each unique to the island it lives on, and four island fox subspecies were federally protected as an endangered species in 2004. Efforts to rebuild fox populations and restore the ecosystems of the Channel Islands are being undertaken with great results.