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Endangered Kit Fox Project

  • LOCATION:  San Joaquin Valley, California, USA
  • DOGS:  Camas, Colt, Finny, Jax, Orbee, Rio, Rue, Seamus, Tia, Tobias, Tsavo, &  Utah
  • PURPOSE:  To monitor the habitat, movements, and population trends of the endangered San Joaquin Kit Fox
  • TARGET SCENTS:  Kit fox scat
  • PARTNER/CLIENT:  Bureau of Land Management (Hollister Field Office) and the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI), Althouse and Meade, Inc., & Topaz Solar Farms, LLC.


The San Joaquin kit fox (Vulpes macrotis mutica) is an endangered species that lives only in the San Joaquin Valley of central California. More than 95% of their potential habitat has been developed or converted to agricultural use.

By law, kit fox presence and habitat must be closely monitored—a difficult task given their elusive, nocturnal nature. But WD4C dogs have proven highly proficient at detecting kit fox scats, which are extremely small and hard to identify.

For almost two decades, WD4C dog-collected data has been helping steer public and private land management decisions to protect San Joaquin kit fox populations and habitat. And we’ve done it cost-effectively: Just $51,000 in dog detection surveys leveraged over $2 million in funding for land acquisition—a nearly 40-fold return on investment.

WD4C is gathering some of the most comprehensive population trend data available on this imperiled fox. This data is making solar energy development possible in a way that is compatible with ongoing kit fox survival. In other words, we are helping make green energy even greener; not only is solar energy carbon-neutral and infinitely renewable, but our dogs are helping our partners make sure that it’s also wildlife-friendly.