Darwin's Fox (Lycalopex fulvipes) can be found on San Pedro Island and mainland Chile. Originally believed to be a subspecies of the South American Gray Fox, genetic testing has confirmed that Darwin's Fox is in fact a distinct species.
Known locally as zorro chilote or zorro de darwin, it has distinct coloring. Most of its body is a salt-and-pepper gray, but its ears, muzzle and feet can be a much brighter red color. Charles Darwin himself first described Darwin's Fox in 1834, when he noticed the fox watching him while making his survey. The fox was so absorbed in what he was doing that Darwin was able to sneak up behind it and kill it with his geological hammer, taking it as one of his specimens for his famous Beagle expedition.
This gave Darwin a low opinion of the fox's intelligence:
This fox, more curious or more scientific, but less wise, than the generality of his brethren, is now mounted in the museum of the Zoological Society.
Darwin's Fox is found almost exclusively in forests, where it hunts for small mammals, reptiles, insects and other invertebrates. It will also eat fruits and berries, and sometimes scavenges carrion.
The Darwin's Fox is protected on Chiloe Island and in Nahuelbuta National Park on the mainland, but it runs a substantial risk of death if it leaves to seek milder climate during the winter. Because there are only 250 foxes on Chiloe and 70 on the mainland, Darwin's Fox is considered to be critically endangered.
Forest fragmentation, disease, feral dogs and local farmers who believe that Darwin's Fox is responsible for livestock killing are its greatest threats.