Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Carnivora Canidae

Scientific Name: Urocyon cinereoargenteus
Species Authority: (Schreber, 1775)
Common Name(s):
English Grey Fox, Tree Fox, Gray Fox
Spanish Gato De Monte, Gato Cervan, Zorro, Zorro Gris, Zorro Plateado

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Cypher, B.L., Fuller, T.K. & List, R.
Reviewer(s): Sillero-Zubiri, C. & Hoffmann, M. (Canid Red List Authority)
The Grey Fox is widespread in forest, woodland, brushland, shrubland, and rocky habitats in temperate and tropical regions of North America, and in northernmost montane regions of South America. There is no good evidence that Grey Fox numbers are increasing or decreasing in any part of their range. The species is not considered threatened at present.
Previously published Red List assessments:
2004 Least Concern (LC)
1996 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: The Grey Fox ranges from the southern edge of central and eastern Canada, and Oregon, Nevada, Utah and Colorado in the United States south to northern Venezuela and Colombia; and from the Pacific coast of the United States to the Atlantic and Caribbean oceans. The species is not found in the northern Rocky Mountains of the United States, or in the Caribbean watersheds of Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and western Panama.
Countries occurrence:
Belize; Canada; Colombia; Costa Rica; El Salvador; Guatemala; Honduras; Mexico; Nicaragua; Panama; United States; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The species is common in occupied habitat, but appears to be restricted to locally dense habitats where it is not excluded by sympatric Coyotes (Canis latrans) and Bobcats (Lynx rufus) (Farias 2000b).
Current Population Trend: Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: In eastern North America, the Grey Fox is most closely associated with deciduous/southern pine forests interspersed with some old fields and scrubby woodlands (Hall 1981). In western North America, it is commonly found in mixed agricultural/woodland/chaparral/riparian landscapes and shrub habitats. The species occupies forested areas and thick brush habitats in Central America and forested montane habitats in South America (Eisenberg 1989). Grey Foxes occur in semi-arid areas of the southwestern USA and northern Mexico where cover is sufficient. They appear to do well on the margins of some urban areas (Harrison 1997).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Habitat loss, fragmentation, and degradation, may be particularly problematic in regions where human numbers are increasing rapidly and important habitat is converted for agricultural, industrial, and urban uses.

Because of its relatively lower fur quality compared with other species, commercial use of the Grey Fox is somewhat limited. However, 90,604 skins were taken in the United States during the 1991 and 1992 season (Linscombe 1994). In Mexico, Grey Foxes are frequently sold illegally as pets (R. List pers. comm.).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Not listed in the CITES Appendices. The Grey Fox is legally protected as a harvested species in Canada and the United States (Fritzell 1987).

Grey Foxes occur in numerous protected areas throughout their range, such as Big Bend NP, San Joaquin National Wildlife Refuge, Rocky Mountain NP and Everglades and Dry Tortugas NP, and Adirondack NP.

A number of foxes are held in captivity, although there may be more in the hands of private collections/individuals who do not report to ISIS. Grey Foxes appear to fare well in captivity and commonly are on display at zoos and wildlife farms.

Gaps in knowledge:
Because of the relatively high abundance and low economic value of Grey Foxes, surprisingly little research has been conducted on this species. Basic ecological and demographic information is needed for each of the major habitats occupied by Grey Foxes. Also, data on the response of Grey Foxes to human-altered landscapes (e.g., urban environments) is needed. No region-wide or range-wide population estimate has been produced. Furthermore, extremely little is known about the status and ecology of Grey Foxes outside of the USA and Canada. The effects of Grey Foxes on populations of smaller vertebrates, especially in urban and suburban settings without larger predators, may be important.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.4. Forest - Temperate
suitability: Suitable  
1. Forest -> 1.5. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
suitability: Suitable  
1. Forest -> 1.9. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Montane
suitability: Suitable  
3. Shrubland -> 3.6. Shrubland - Subtropical/Tropical Moist
suitability: Suitable  
3. Shrubland -> 3.8. Shrubland - Mediterranean-type Shrubby Vegetation
suitability: Suitable  
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.1. Artificial/Terrestrial - Arable Land
suitability: Suitable  
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.2. Artificial/Terrestrial - Pastureland
suitability: Suitable  
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.5. Artificial/Terrestrial - Urban Areas
suitability: Suitable  
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over entire range
In-Place Species Management
  Subject to ex-situ conservation:Yes
In-Place Education
1. Residential & commercial development -> 1.1. Housing & urban areas
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

1. Residential & commercial development -> 1.2. Commercial & industrial areas
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.4. Scale Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.3. Livestock farming & ranching -> 2.3.4. Scale Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology

♦  Wearing apparel, accessories
 Local : ✓   National : ✓ 

♦  Pets/display animals, horticulture
 Local : ✓ 

Bibliography [top]

Baillie, J. and Groombridge, B. (comps and eds). 1996. 1996 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

Eisenberg, J.F. 1989. Panamá, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

Fritzell, E. K. 1987. Gray fox and island gray fox. In: M. Novak, J. A. Baker, M. E. Obbard and D. Malloch (eds), Wild furbearer management and conservation in North America, pp. 408-420. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and the Ontario Trappers Association, Ontario, Canada, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Hall, E.R. 1981. The Mammals of North America. John Wiley and Sons, New York, USA.

Harrison, R. L. 1997. A comparison of gray fox ecology between residential and undeveloped rural landscapes. Journal of Wildlife Management 61: 112-122.

Linscombe, G. 1994. U.S. fur harvest (1970-92) and fur value (1974-1992) statistics by state and region. Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA.

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.

Citation: Cypher, B.L., Fuller, T.K. & List, R. 2008. Urocyon cinereoargenteus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T22780A9385878. . Downloaded on 06 October 2015.
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