Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Carnivora Canidae

Scientific Name: Vulpes pallida
Species Authority: (Cretzschmar, 1826)
Common Name(s):
English Pale Fox, Pallid Fox, African Sand Fox
French Renard Pâlé
Spanish Zorro Pálido

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-17
Assessor(s): Sillero-Zubiri, C. & Wacher, T.
Reviewer(s): Hoffmann, M. & Murdoch, J.D.
The Pale Fox is listed as Least Concern, since although there is no detailed information on its abundance, the species is relatively widespread in the ecological band laying between the true desert of the Sahara and the sub-Saharan savannas. There are no known major range-wide threats at present that may result in a population decline that would warrant listing in a threatened category.
Previously published Red List assessments:
2008 Data Deficient (DD)
2004 Data Deficient (DD)
1996 Data Deficient (DD)
1994 Insufficiently Known (K)
1990 Insufficiently Known (K)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The Pale Fox is distributed in the semi-arid Sahel of Africa, bordering the Sahara to the north. The southern limit of its geographical range extends into northern Guinean savanna zones. It ranges from Mauritania, Senegal and Gambia through Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad to the Red Sea.
Countries occurrence:
Benin; Burkina Faso; Cameroon; Chad; Eritrea; Ethiopia; Gambia; Mali; Mauritania; Niger; Nigeria; Senegal; South Sudan; Sudan
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The Pale Fox is widespread and present throughout its range. It is locally common, but in most parts it is seldom recorded.
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:10000-99999Continuing decline of mature individuals:No
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The species typically inhabits very dry sandy and stony marginal sub-Saharan desert and semi-desert areas, but its range extends to some extent southwards into moister Guinean savanna areas. Therefore, it has a very extensive distribution within an unstable and fluctuating ecological band lying between true desert and the Guinean savannas. It may also occur near human habitation and cultivated fields where food is more readily available than in natural habitats (Rosevear 1974).
Generation Length (years):3

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Trade is unlikely to pose a threat to this species. However, Pale Fox remains were found in a local market in southern Benin (Djagoun and Gaubert 2009). Cooked Pale Fox meat is used for treating asthma in Sudan.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): No major threats are known, although they may be persecuted locally since they are known to kill domestic fowl (Rosevear 1974). The species is a frequent victim of road kills on regularly used tracks between settlements in Sahel zone of Niger and Chad. Oil and gas drilling, and associated disturbance, might become a future localized threat.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is not listed on any CITES Appendices. It is locally common in the newly created Termit and Tin Toumma National Nature and Cultural Reserve of east Niger and in Ouadi Rimé-Ouadi Achim Faunal Reserve, Chad. It is likely to occur in several other protected areas throughout the species' range, but no reliable information is available at present. This is the least known of all the canids, and studies on its distribution, status and ecological requirements are needed.

Classifications [top]

2. Savanna -> 2.1. Savanna - Dry
suitability: Suitable  major importance:Yes
2. Savanna -> 2.2. Savanna - Moist
suitability: Marginal  
3. Shrubland -> 3.5. Shrubland - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
suitability: Marginal  
4. Grassland -> 4.5. Grassland - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
suitability: Marginal  
8. Desert -> 8.1. Desert - Hot
suitability: Suitable  major importance:Yes
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.1. Artificial/Terrestrial - Arable Land
suitability: Marginal  
1. Land/water protection -> 1.1. Site/area protection
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
  Action Recovery plan:No
  Systematic monitoring scheme:No
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over entire range
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
In-Place Species Management
  Harvest management plan:No
  Successfully reintroduced or introduced beningly:No
  Subject to ex-situ conservation:Unknown
In-Place Education
  Subject to recent education and awareness programmes:No
  Included in international legislation:No
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:No
2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.3. Agro-industry farming
♦ timing: Unknown ♦ scope: Unknown ♦ severity: Slow, Significant Declines ⇒ Impact score: Unknown 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.2. Species disturbance

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.3. Livestock farming & ranching -> 2.3.1. Nomadic grazing
♦ timing: Ongoing ♦ scope: Unknown ♦ severity: Unknown ⇒ Impact score: Unknown 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.2. Species disturbance

3. Energy production & mining -> 3.1. Oil & gas drilling
♦ timing: Ongoing ♦ scope: Minority (<50%) ♦ severity: Unknown ⇒ Impact score: Unknown 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.2. Species disturbance

4. Transportation & service corridors -> 4.1. Roads & railroads
♦ timing: Ongoing ♦ scope: Minority (<50%) ♦ severity: Negligible declines ⇒ Impact score: Low Impact: 4 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.2. Species disturbance

5. Biological resource use -> 5.1. Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals -> 5.1.3. Persecution/control
♦ timing: Unknown ♦ scope: Unknown ♦ severity: Negligible declines ⇒ Impact score: Unknown 
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

11. Climate change & severe weather -> 11.1. Habitat shifting & alteration
♦ timing: Future ♦ scope: Minority (<50%) ♦ severity: Slow, Significant Declines ⇒ Impact score: Low Impact: 3 
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.2. Species disturbance

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.5. Threats

♦  Food - human
 Local : ✓   National : ✓ 

♦  Medicine - human & veterinary
 Local : ✓   National : ✓ 

Bibliography [top]

Brito, J.C., Acosta, A.L., Álvares, F. & Cuzin, F. 2009. Biogeography and conservation of taxa from remote regions: An application of ecological-niche based models and GIS to North-African canids. Biological Conservation 142: 3020-3029.

Djagoun, S.C.A.M. and Gaubert, P. 2009. Small carnivorans from southern Benin: a preliminary assessment of diversity and hunting pressure. Small Carnivore Conservation 40: 1-10.

Ginsberg, J. R. and Macdonald, D. W. 1990. Foxes, Wolves, Jackals, and Dogs: An Action Plan for the Conservation of Canids. IUCN/SSC Canid Specialist Group, IUCN, Gland, Switzerland.

IUCN. 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2012.2). Available at: (Accessed: 17 October 2012).

Kingdon, J. 1997. The Kingdon Field Guide to African Mammals. Academic Press, London, UK.

Rosevear, D.R. 1974. The Carnivores of West Africa. Trustees of the British Museum (Natural History), London, UK.

Sillero-Zubiri, C. 2009. Family Canidae. In: Wilson D.E. & Mittermeier, R.A. (ed.), Handbook of the Mammals of the world. Vol 1: Carnivores., pp. 352-446. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.

Sillero-Zubiri, C., Hoffmann, M. and Macdonald, D.W. (eds). 2004. Canids: Foxes, Wolves, Jackals and Dogs. Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan. IUCN/SSC Canid Specialist Group, IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

Sillero-Zubiri, C. in press. Vulpes pallida. In: Kingdon, J.S. & Hoffmann, M. (ed.), The Mammals of Africa. Vol 5. Carnivora, Pholidota, Perissodactyla. , Bloomsbury, London.

Citation: Sillero-Zubiri, C. & Wacher, T. 2012. Vulpes pallida. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T23052A16813736. . Downloaded on 10 October 2015.
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