a Santa Cruz Island fox

The uplifting tale of these tiny island foxes, nearly wiped out by disaster

Earth Day began after a catastrophe off California. Leadership and science restored nature—and hope—through years of despair and controversy.

An island fox dozes in the afternoon sun. No bigger than house cats, island foxes live only in the Southern California Channel Islands. They mysteriously began to disappear in the 1990s and became the focus of an intense long-term effort to save them.

Photograph by Melissa Groo, National Geographic

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