A ceremonial Navy sendoff of a fox pup abandoned by its parents at San Clemente Island was held on Monday, June 4.

The island fox, nicknamed “Garth,” was found and cared for by Navy’s Wildlife biologists on San Clemente Island. Unable to survive in the wild, he will have a new home and job title at the Santa Barbara Zoo as a Channel Island fox animal ambassador.

Garth was found not far from the side of a road on San Clemente Island by an island worker. Due to Garth never learning the basic skills to survive; he is not a candidate to be return to his natural habitat.

“We make every effort to protect our natural and cultural resources — I am very happy Garth will have a new home with the Santa Barbara Zoo, I am also excited for the Zoo for taking him in as their new ambassador, said Capt. Yancy Lindsey, Commanding Officer, Naval Base Coronado.”

The Santa Barbara Zoo has a long standing relationship with the Navy — the Zoo has made arrangement with the Navy over the years to take in foxes from San Clemente Island.

“The Santa Barbara Zoo is incredibly thrilled to continue partnering with the Navy to conserve the Channel Island Fox. This young pup will serve as an ambassador for his species, and for the entire California Channel Islands ecosystem, as he reaches hundreds of thousands of people with educational, fun messages,” said Sheri Horiszny, Santa Barbara Zoo Director of Animal Programs.

The San Clemente Island fox, “state protected” species, is the largest mammal native to the San Clemente Island. There are about a thousand foxes on the island.  Most weigh between 3 and 3.5 pounds.

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