In an encouraging sign, a single gray fox sighting in February now leads us to photos of an entire gray fox family. Per sources to the Examiner, at least three of the foxes — absent for years from the park — have been spotted, leading experts to understand that they're breeding. The animals were seen roaming around a vacant building by Crissy Field in August and earlier this month.
Great gray fox photos from the Presidio Trust's wildlife spy cam! pic.twitter.com/p8d2q6WNrH— Dana Polk (@danacpolk) September 14, 2015
As Bay Nature magazine explains, gray foxes were were a common sight in the Presidio for many years until their predator, coyotes, expanded into the area in the early 2000s. Around that time, the foxes disappeared.
“It’s hard to say whether it’s possible to have both of these species occurring in this little park,” said Presidio Trust wildlife ecologist Jonathan Young, who snapped the top photo with an iPhone through binoculars in February. That lone gray fox was the first recorded in the area since 2003
"The fact that they’re breeding in the park is much more significant than just seeing one individual,” said Young.
The Presidio Trust isn't sure where the foxes came from in the first place — if they've been laying low in the park this whole time or if they crossed into the area through an urban wildlife corridor like up 19th Avenue and Park Presidio.
And let's not forget that we also have mountain lions roaming town these days, too.
Regardless, Young is optimistic when it comes to the survival and repopulation of the species. “A lot of these areas with really thick vegetation for them to run and play and hunt and evade predation from coyotes is going to be what supports the long-term gray fox population,” he said.
Previously: Rare Gray Fox Sighting In The Presidio