By Don Ford

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) – On the bluffs above Baker Beach, wildlife biologist Jonathan Young discovered a creature that surprised even him.

“Trying to get really clear pictures so that we can confirm the identification, so that there are no questions that this was a gray fox,” Young told KPIX 5.

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Using his cell phone through an old pair of binoculars, he spotted a gray fox high up a tree. The fox itself isn’t rare but, it’s been more than ten years since a grey fox was seen in the Presidio.

“After 2004, sometime around that period, they were functionally extinct from the Park,” Young said.

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That’s when coyotes took over, preying on all the gray foxes.

gray fox spotted in presidio

(Jonathan Young)

But this sighting indicates the animal has returned to the Presidio, maybe by crossing the Golden Gate Bridge.

The Presidio has miles of trails. Wildlife ecologists are asking park visitors who spot animals to take photos and upload them using an app called iNaturalist. The park reviews all photos and will identify the animal for you.

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If you’d like to see the gray fox, remember it’s a bit of a longshot after all. He is a little shy, but your best opportunity will be in the early morning or late afternoon. And remember, walk quietly, you might be surprised what you run across.