BC will not face kit fox charges

A kit fox runs across campus in front of the indoor theater.

Lizette Chavez

A kit fox runs across campus in front of the indoor theater.

Brandon Cowan, Reporter

The Department of Fish and Wildlife requested last year that Bakersfield College face charges for its handling of the kit foxes located on campus, but the district attorney’s office did not file charges because it found a lack of evidence for a case. The Renegade Rip, acting on tips from anonymous sources, published articles detailing the kit fox situation that appeared in three editions in the spring of 2016. At that time, The Rip was informed of the DFW investigation, which began in July 2015 and eventually concluded with the request for charges to the DA’s office.

On April 14 of this year, Chris Stoots, a public information officer for the headquarters of the Department of Fish and Wildlife in Sacramento, provided The Rip with an email from Andrew Halverson, a warden with the DFW for Kern and north San Bernardino counties. Stoots initially didn’t want to release the email because he said it wasn’t a formal statement.

The email states, “Thank you for your inquiry in regards to the kit foxes at Bakersfield College.The investigation was completed in late April of 2016 and submitted to the district attorney’s office. We requested that the college be charged with Fish & Game Code 4700(a)(1) take of a fully protected animal. In May of 2016 we received notice from the district attorney’s office that they were not going to file the case because they deemed there was not enough evidence to file the charges.”

The Fish and Game Code 4700 (a) (1) states, “… a fully protected mammal may not be taken or possessed at any time… However, the department may authorize the taking of a fully protected mammal for necessary scientific research, including efforts to recover fully protected, threatened, or endangered species.”

According to sources in The Rip articles, activity was noticed on a hillside in Memorial Stadium in early 2015 that kit fox dens had been collapsed and some filled with cement, which would violate the Endangered Species Act. The activity involved putting mulch on the hillside around the BC logo as part of a beautification project. Among the stories published by The Rip was a timeline from public records on how the situation was handled, a story that involved a source who was party to the removal of the kit foxes, and a story from an expert from the Environmental Species Recovery Program who was also critical of the situation. A story was also published with reaction from the BC administration.