Feb. 26 (UPI) — An Oregon man captured photos of his unusual encounter with an extremely rare animal: a Sierra Nevada red fox.
Alan Miles, of Bend, said he was in the parking lot of Skyliner in Mount Bachelor when he saw another person taking photos of an animal.
“I saw a lady taking a photo of this animal on the hill, looked up and it was this very unusual animal — it was not a dog — and just thought it was real special,” Miles told KTVZ-TV.
Wildlife experts reviewed Miles’ photos and identified the animal as a Sierra Nevada red fox. The species is considered extremely rare, with fewer than 50 believed to exist in the wild in California.
The Oregon Department of Fish And Wildlife said the species was first confirmed to be living in Oregon in 2015.
“Very little is known about the Sierra Nevada red fox,” Fish and Wildlife biologist Jamie Bowles said. “We haven’t taken a look yet at population size estimates or density in our area.”
The photos that Miles snapped show an animal that has mostly black fur, with white at the end of its tail and on its paws.
“So it is a misnomer, their name, the Sierra Nevada red fox,” Bowles said. “We actually see a lot more of the darker-coated foxes here in Central Oregon, specifically in the higher elevations.”