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‘Real special’: Bend man catches rare, mysterious fox on camera near Mt. Bachelor

(Update: Adding video, photographer, ODFW biologist's comments)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Alan Miles of Bend took these photos of what appears to be a rare Sierra Nevada red fox at a Mt. Bachelor parking lot.

He said the fox was passing through the Skyliner parking lot on Monday. 

According to the Center For Biological Diversity, "This unique animal is one of the rarest mammals in North America and is now limited to only two tiny California populations that likely consist of fewer than 50 — and possibly even fewer than 20 — individuals."

"I saw a lady taking a photo of this animal on the hill, looked up and it was this very unusual animal -- it was not a dog -- and just thought it was real special," Miles said.

It seems the rare animal's temperament might have been why Miles was able to get some good shots in.

"I just walked, took pictures, and it really wasn't afraid or had any fear of machines or myself," he said.

The Oregon Department Of Fish And Wildlife says the animal's presence in Oregon was confirmed in 2015, specifically in the Mt. Jefferson, Mt. Washington and Three Sisters wilderness areas.

ODFW biologist Jamie Bowles says the agency has been studying the foxes.

"Very little is known about the Sierra Nevada red fox," she said. "We haven't taken a look yet at population size estimates or density in our area."

Bowles explained while they might not be the most rare, they are hard to find.

"They're very elusive," she said. "They are nocturnal animals, and they do spend their time in the higher elevation areas."

And just because they have the word "red" in their name doesn't mean they are always that color.

"So it is a misnomer, their name, the Sierra Nevada red fox," Bowles explained. "We actually see a lot more of the darker-coated foxes here in Central Oregon, specifically in the higher elevations."

Central Oregon / Deschutes County / Environment / News / Top Stories
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Blake Allen

Blake Allen is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Blake here.

Comments

23 Comments

  1. If there was only one person that saw it and took a photo of it, how do we know it was actually seen there and not in Nevada. Lots of red flags here.

      1. Indeed they have. I spotted one last August turning into Todd Lake off Century. Thought it was a dog at first until I noticed the white tail. A car came from the opposite direction and scared it away before I could snap a picture but I did do quite a bit of googling because it was so unique in its markings.

    1. This isn’t a new occurrence. A similar, or quite possibly the same Sierra Nevada Red Fox visited Mt Bachelor in the summer of 2016. My friends and I got to see him/her on a few occasions over that summer. He/she was not timid at all and I’m assuming it’s because visitors was feeding it. It came right up to us each time we saw it and even interacted with my dog. Even though it was a cool experience for me, folks really should not feed wildlife (we did not feed it). As proof, here is a picture from that summer:

      https://imgur.com/gallery/h0o87HX

      1. I remember that one was named Blackie and there were posters around Bachelor with it’s picture and saying not to feed it, etc. Could be the same one or a relative, buy yeah not the first time seen up there.

    2. There is a lot of surveying for the fox every year. DNA sampling of fur and scat to verify that is in fact a Shasta.. Nothing new, no conspiracy, you can take off the tin hat.

  2. Several pictures of this fox have been posted on the “Mt. Bachelor Conditions” Facebook page. People have captured images of it on the mountain and in the parking lots.

  3. Time to close Bachelor down to save the fox from getting hit by a rig and its habitat from human encroachment. Find out what the home range area is and close it all down, even the ski area and/or highway if need be. We have to protect this highly endangered animal, start by closing off everything within 1 mile of the known location(s) it has been sighted at. The forest is shut down for Elk and Deer habitat, the Badlands are shut down for raptor habitat, the forest is shut down for Eagle and Owl nesting locations, why not give the same consideration to this fox? Spotted Owl protection worked so now we need to protect this fox as well. Anything less then Owl protection level wrong.

  4. I seen him this summer at Little Fawn campground on Elk Lake. It was early one morning and I was up by myself drinking coffee. He wandered right through my campsite. It was really breathtaking.

    1. More like every liberal in the populated parts of the state trying to shut down Deschutes Nat. Forest. I think I’m a bit more worried about the nonsense laws from the liberal, than I am about the gun-toting rednecks that don’t venture too far from their MAGA rallies, churches, or beer stash.

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