The first island fox birth of the season occurred in captivity last week on San Miguel Island, coinciding with an announcement by professional hunters that more than 4,800 feral pigs on nearby Santa Cruz Island have been killed since last April. Both developments signal progress in the recovery of the endangered island fox (pictured below). According to National Park authorities, more than two dozen captive foxes are expected to give birth in the coming weeks, while “significant” births are also expected from the 223 wild foxes on the northern Channel Islands. The pig hunt – designed to help rid the islands of the fox-eating golden eagle – is scheduled for completion in June 2007. Legal efforts by local businessman and animal rights activist Rick Feldman to halt the pig hunt were denied in Federal Appeals court last week.

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