Wayn is his name, a very lucky 4 month old island fox that was trapped in Waynuk canyon on San Clemente Island (SCI) on July 19, 2010, suffering from puncture wounds to his abdomen and showing signs of starvation.
The Institute for Wildlife Studies and Navy Biologist believe that Wayn was abandoned by his parents and a larger fox ended up attacking him and nearly killing him. Wayn was treated at a veterinary facility on the island called the “Foxpital.” Surgery was required to fix two abdominal hernias that were small tears in the muscle wall and injuries.
Because of the recovery time needed, Wayn was not considered a candidate for returning to the wild. Melissa Booker, the Navy’s wildlife biologist for San Clemente Island said Wayn would have a hard time surviving without skills learned from his parents and an established territory.
"The fox seems like a goofy, fun-loving animal, but he's still a predator, always looking for food," said Dan Biteman, a researcher at the Institute for Wildlife Studies.
The island fox is spread throughout the Navy-owned Island that is 70 miles from San Diego. Annually, the Navy monitors the fox population to ensure it stays healthy and stable, and vaccinates a portion of the population against rabies and canine distemper. The Navy tracks about 100 foxes to watch for any signs of disease or other threats.
“Preserving the fox means preserving training,” said Booker who oversees the Navy’s program to preserve the animal and to prevent federal listing of the fox, which could result in limitations to Navy training at SCI.”
Since being found, Wayn is now the San Clemente Island “ambassador-fox.” He resides in his own outdoor enclosure at the Navy’s Natural Resource Complex at San Clemente Island, where he provides an opportunity for groups and individuals to see him and learn more about his species.
Wayn is taken for walks in the general area around the complex and enjoys a diet of wet and dry cat food, live mice, crickets, fish, hardboiled eggs in the shell, and a variety of fruits and vegetables.