Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Swift foxes (Vulpes velox), extirpated in Canada by the 1930's, have been reintroduced to the Canadian prairies since 1983. Prior to 1983, 21 foxes were captured for breeding purposes in Canada, origin of which appear to be from South Dakota and Colorado. From 1983 to 1996, a total of about 855 foxes have been released. Of these, approximately 725 were from captive colonies raised in facilities at Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan and Cochrane, Alberta. The Cochrane facility being the most important source of captive foxes. The reintroduction program relied on the availability of wild swift foxes captured in the United States for both captive breeding and wild releases. Since 1973, a total of 151 wild foxes have been captured in the states of Wyoming, Colorado, and South Dakota. Twelve foxes appear to have been captured in South Dakota, 40 in Colorado, and 99 in Wyoming. Of these, 66% were captured since 1988. Of the 88 foxes caught in Wyoming from 1990-1996, 67 were released and 21 were used in captive breeding facilities. This paper reviews the U.S. swift fox captures within the context of the Canadian reintroduction program.