Rare sighting of a Sierra Nevada red fox family captured on vide - KPTV - FOX 12

Rare sighting of a Sierra Nevada red fox family captured on video

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BEND, OR (KPTV) -

A rare sight was caught on camera in the Cascade Mountain Range in Oregon’s Deschutes National Forrest earlier this spring.

Jon Nelson, the wildlife curator at the High Desert Museum, reviewed footage from a camera trap, a camera triggered by motion, in April and saw three Sierra Nevada red fox kits playing in the night with their parents keeping watch.

This sighting marks the first time these kits have been on camera.

"Not only is it the first natal den of the animal ever discovered in the region.” Nelson said in a release, “It's the first time that pups have been recorded on video."

Nelson knew the den was in the area but wasn’t able to prove it until he reviewed the video captured on a camera made available with an assist by the Oregon Zoo Foundations’ Future for Wildlife Program.

High Desert Museum wildlife volunteer Rhianna Axon has monitored this camera for about a year and is the one who tipped Nelson off to the footage.

Although it is the first time the pups have been caught on video, locals say the parents have roamed the area for a few years and have even been photographed.

U.C. Davis’ canine genetics lab confirmed that this was a Sierra Nevada red fox family after Nelson sent them fur samples.

This is the first active den Nelson has found after tracking the subspecies throughout the Three Sisters Wilderness area in Deschutes National Forest since last spring.

These small, gray subspecies of the red fox native to Oregon are so rare and elusive that there is no population estimate in the state.

Nelson plans to continue his studies and keep in the camera up in order to capture more images of the species, however it appears that the family has already left the den.

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