Before any reintroduction is carried out, there are several steps we have to take to determine if it is even possible. We followed the IUCN’s guidelines for this process. First, we looked at the entire landscape to make sure that there is enough food for the foxes to eat and enough places for them to live. Swift foxes choose to live in flat landscapes with short-grasses and soils that can be easily dug for burrows, which they use for shelter.
Next, we sought expert advice on how many foxes we would need to release each year in order to ensure a healthy population. We also read a lot of studies and papers on prior fox reintroductions to learn what worked (or didn’t work) for others.
Finally, we presented the results of these research efforts to a group of swift fox experts, including wildlife biologists and researchers, as well as representatives from American Indian tribes, state and federal agencies and local NGOs. Following a discussion of the research results, we worked with this group to set the reintroduction plan, goals and budget.
We are now waiting for the final permits from the states where we plan to capture swift foxes. If all goes well, we will start the translocations in late summer 2020. Stayed tuned for updates.