First Swift fox, Vulpes velox, Reintroduction in the USA:

Results of the First Two Years

Clio Smeeton

Cochrane Ecological institute, PO Box 484, Cochrane, AB, Canada T0L 0W0; (403) 932-5632; (fax) (403) 932-6303;

Ken Weagle

CEI Consulting Ltd., 7109 Bulyes Ave., Fort McMurray, AB, Canada T9H 5J6;


The swift fox, Vulpes velox, is native only to the great plains of North America. The species was

completely eradicated from its Canadian range by 1938, and from over 90% of its range in the

USA by 1993. There have been two attempts at reintroducing the swift fox in to its historic range,

one in Canada (1983 to 1997) and one on Blackfeet Tribal Land in the USA (1998 to present).

The reintroduction of the swift fox to the Blackfeet Tribal Lands in Montana began in August

1998. This is the first swift fox reintroduction to be undertaken in the USA. The project is a five-year

partnership between the Blackfeet Fish and Wildlife Department, Cochrane Ecological

Institute and Defenders of Wildlife. The reintroduction methodology used was based on that

developed by the Cochrane Ecological Institute. A total of 76 swift fox have been released to

date, and two years remain in the program. Survival of released animals is still being investigated;

survival of radio collared swift fox released in 1999 was 75% over a one-year period.

Cubs have been produced in all years of the program. More than 24 cubs were observed in the

field in 1999 and 2000.