Gray Fox Report Dec 2018

Gray Fox Report for December 2018

Annual Year End Report

Submitted by William C. Leikam 
President, CEO & Co-founder

Urban Wildlife Research Project

A 501 C (3) Nonprofit Corporation

As 2018 ends, I look back on a year of change at the baylands. The full scope of this change, however, was not seen by very many people for one has to bury themselves in the ecosystems ringing the bay in order to understand the destruction being wrought on our wildlife. So, let’s take a look at the highlights of this past year through the lens of the Gray Fox Report.  

Highlights By Month

January: What the Poacher Left Behind

After that poacher left, … a juvenile raccoon came before one of my trail cameras. It moved with a heavy, sluggish gait … that I can only interpret as depression. This was likely a survivor of the raccoon family that the poacher nearly wiped out.  

February: The Tale of an Injured Raccoon

Over this past month, there has been a young raccoon that apparently got into a fight and most likely with the two bullying raccoons that have come into the area. The injured raccoon cannot put weight on its left hind leg.

March: Urban Gray Fox’s Unusual Territory

As I observed the behavior of some 14 gray foxes, it became obvious that there were variations in the manner by which each pair of foxes took care of their territories.

April: Urban Gray Fox’s Parenting: Story of Bold & Gray – Part I

Here in this report, I showed Mama Bold and Gray’s parenting style. These two gray foxes fit the mold of good parents, parents who watched over their young but were not overbearing.

May: Urban Gray Fox’s Parenting: Contrasting Story of Cute & Dark – Part II

Cute & Dark were the antitheses from that of Mama Bold and Gray. Instead of taking good care of their single pup they seldom tended to the pup’s needs. Cute only reluctantly nursed her pup, and seldom remained at the den for very long leaving the pup to fend for itself.

June: Urban Gray Fox’s Parenting: Not All the Same – Part III

This month’s Gray Fox Report was a more in-depth, detailed account of the contrasting differences in parenting between Mama Bold and Gray and Cute and Dark.

July: The Fabric of Bonding: The Tragedy of Two Pups: Dark Face & Bright Eyes – Pt I

This was part one of a two-part series on wildlife bonding as based on the two pups the male Dark Face and his sister Bright Eyes.

August: The Fabric of Bonding: Tragedy of Two Pups: Dark Face & Bright Eyes – Pt II

This month’s report takes us deeper into bonding and the emotional lives of wild animals.

September: Facebook Foxes

“Baby gray foxes were born under the deck of what’s called the Town Square which is an open courtyard with twenty redwood trees and a wooden deck located on the new portion of the Facebook campus.” Email excerpt from Facebook.

October: Gray Fox Repopulation?

It had been eight months since the last gray fox passed through. I hit on file number eight and there it was: Urocyon cinereoargenteus the gray fox. I cried, “Yes, yes, yes, there it is!” It trotted toward off toward the junction.

November: Why We Need Foxes at the Baylands

Once the gray foxes were decimated, the wildlife at the baylands exploded creating a trophic cascade. This created a situation that exists today: Too many jack rabbits, too many rodents, too many of all wildlife that the gray foxes had once kept under control and the ecosystem balanced. That’s why we need them to return.    

Gray Foxes General Health

No resident gray foxes occupying the Palo Alto Baylands Nature Preserve.

Total Numbers Of Gray Foxes in the Palo Alto Baylands Nature Preserve

No resident gray foxes occupying the Palo Alto Baylands Nature Preserve.

Section II

Update for the Urban Wildlife Research Project – Greg Kerekes & Bill Leikam

Please donate so that we can begin the collaring project. Just go to our website, check out the letter and go to the donate button on the left of the page. Your donation is tax deductible.  

Check out Punch Magazine – Article page 52, about Bill and the work he is doing at the baylands including what’s next. Many have reported enjoying the article.

To find out more about us, search Urban Wildlife Research Project, UWRP, gray foxes, wildlife connection, linkages, corridors and several documentaries and clips on YouTube  

  1. Check out our Facebook page.
  2. If you haven’t had a chance to read at least some of the articles that have been written about our study of gray fox behavior and our corridor work, click on these links as they will take you to the source: Bill Leikam – The Fox Guy, and Greg Kerekes & URWP


Section III: Gray Fox, Baylands Goals

Within the permit that allows the Urban Wildlife Research Project to conduct its study of the behavior of the gray fox at the Palo Alto Baylands Nature Preserve, the objectives covered are:

  • Monitoring of urban gray fox denning sites in Palo Alto Baylands.

This is being accomplished during the period when the gray foxes use a den site. It is one of the prime locations for gathering most of the behavioral data on the litter and for adults alike. 

  • Assessment of status and population trends of Baylands urban gray foxes

Since November and December of 2016, there have been no resident gray foxes at the Palo Alto Baylands Nature Preserve.

  • Identification of habitat features that promote the presence of urban gray foxes

After considering this and talking with people who know how to restore habitats, we need to assess what kinds of plants, including the Alkaline Salt Bush, would grow best along the edge of the saltwater channel and alongside the marsh. We need to grow a permanent habitat that contains the corridors and plant it as soon as possible. We’ll keep an eye on this as this is a critical link between the southern region of the baylands and the northern region.

  • Assessment of reproductive success and identification of factors that promote successful reproduction

Open up the pinch-point along Matadero Creek by developing thickets that link one area to another, instead of the present “islands”.  

  • Identification and assessment of possible dispersal travel routes.

Presently there can only be guesses as to dispersal travel routes. We intend to make this important question much more concrete when we attain our collaring/take/capture permit from the Department of Fish & Wildlife.

Until next month, I hope that your endeavors provoke thought, are productive, and are rewarding. Take care.

Bill Leikam – The Fox Guy
CEO & President,
Urban Wildlife Research Project
a Nonprofit 501 C3