For the first time in nearly 100 years, a Sierra Nevada red fox has been spotted in Yosemite National Park, according to park staff.
The fox was captured using motion-sensor cameras Dec. 13, 2014 and Jan. 4, 2015, park officials said in a statement.
"We are thrilled to hear about the sighting of the Sierra Nevada red fox, one of the most rare and elusive animals in the Sierra Nevada,” Superintendent Don Neubacher said in the statement. “National parks like Yosemite provide habitat for all wildlife and it is encouraging to see that the red fox was sighted in the park.”
The Yosemite carnivore crew will continue to survey for more Sierra Nevada red foxes using remote cameras, according to the statement. In addition, the crew will set up "hair snare stations" to try to obtain hair samples for analysis to see if any foxes in the park are related to a population of Sierra Nevada red foxes in the Sonora Pass area.
The Sierra Nevada red fox of California is one of the rarest mammals in North America, "likely consisting of fewer than 50 individuals," the statement said.
Prior to this sighting in Yosemite, the "nearest verified occurrences " of Sierra Nevada red foxes have been in the Sonora pass area, which were first documented in 2010, according to the statement. Prior to 2010, the last verified sighting of the animal in the Sonoma Pass area was two decades ago.