TRUCKEE, Calif. (AP) — Wildlife biologists are conducting a DNA test to determine if a rare native fox has been spotted at Donner Lake near Truckee.
California Department of Fish and Wildlife officials say a fox was first reported to them on Oct. 31, and it has since been spotted several times on the lake's north shore as recently as Monday.
Wildlife biologist Ben Sacks of the University of California, Davis says a DNA test is needed to determine if it is a nonnative red fox from California's lowlands or a native Sierra Nevada red fox.
Fish and Wildlife spokesman David Wright says it would be exciting if the animal proved to be the latter because it would be the first confirmed one in the Lake Tahoe area.
He told Truckee's Sierra Sun that there may be fewer than 50 of them in existence around Lassen National Park and Sonora Pass.
The first confirmed sighting of a Sierra Nevada red fox in the Sierra in two decades came in 2010 when a remote camera captured the image of one near Sonora Pass about 90 miles south of Reno, Nev.
The subspecies once was thought to be extinct.
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