A fox that’s been spotted up at Mt. Bachelor has turned out to be a rare species. It’s one that the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is hoping to track in the Cascade range with the help of volunteers.
“Being able to see a Sierra Nevada red fox is kind of like finding a needle in a haystack,” East Region Conservation Wildlife Biologist for ODFW Kaly Adkins said.
Up on Mount Bachelor, they stick out like a sore thumb. This past ski season, photos and videos of the rare red fox at the mountain have circulated social media.
Seasonal snow cat driver for Mt. Bachelor, Paden McCormick, sees them all the time.
“In our experience, there’s more than one,” McCormick said. “People kind of focus on the one that you seen in West village quite a bit, but with them being nocturnal, they’re mostly active at night.”
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Since they are so active in this area, ODFW is hoping volunteers can help install and check wildlife cameras and find scat, so that ODFW can conduct genetic testing.
“We’re looking to try to harness some of the folks that are already out and recreating into helping us be boots on the ground and additional eyes and ears so that we can collect information,” Adkins said.
McCormick, the snow cat driver, has a theory about why the foxes hang out near the resort:
“The front-side ones tend to frequent the dumpsters and things like that cause they’re scavenging for food,” McCormick said.
Jay Lane, a skier, who has taken photos and videos of the animals, has seen them twice.
“I was just skiing through the woods at the lower part of Outback at Bachelor and I kind of got to the flat zone and I was on a track out and I saw this big bushy tail and a raccoon face,” Lane said.
He added that the bright-eyed, bushy-tailed scavengers aren’t skittish or shy.
“It was pretty calm and I was trying to capture it on camera and it took a while to actually just get up and start walking away,” Lane said. “It didn’t run away.”
ODFW asks that if you take a photo or video of a Sierra Nevada Red Fox in the Cascades to send it over to the organization with the coordinates of where the photo was taken.
And if you want to take part as a volunteer for its survey of these animals, you can sign up by visiting https://odfwvolunteer.wufoo.com/forms/odfw-volunteer-registration-level-0-all-ages and selecting “Red Fox Tracking in Oregon Cascades – Support Role” on page two of the registration form.
But be aware if you want to volunteer: ODFW says it will involve a lot of hiking — up to 15 miles a day — plus carrying camera equipment and some overnight camping.