The Catalina Island fox has made a remarkable recovery since its nadir in 1999 when it was on the brink of extinction. But now the animal's successful comeback has sparked an increase in deadly run-ins with its human neighbors.

In 1999, due to an outbreak of canine distemper virus, the fox population on the island dwindled to an estimated 199, according to The Catalina Island Conservancy. But a management program fostered by the conservancy used a combination of captive breeding, vaccination, and monitoring initiatives to help the animal's numbers rebound.

Today, there are an estimated 1,400 foxes on the island, more than its highest numbers before the population first crashed.

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This success has come at an unfortunate cost, however, as the paths of people and fox more frequently collide.

The conservancy says in 2014 at least 25 foxes died on the island. Most (21) were due to the animals being hit by cars, while other causes of death included drowning in uncovered water containers (2), run-ins with dogs (1), and ingestion of rat poison (1).

A mundane-seeming, but deadly nexus for these fox deaths has been trash cans, the conservancy said. Many of the island's dead foxes have been found near refuse containers, whose open or improperly secured contents lure the foxes into areas populated by humans, and their cars.

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The conservancy has responded by starting a program to raise funds for an estimated 150 animal-proof trash containers, to be used at key points on the 42,000 acres of land it maintains. The special 80-gallon containers require users to reach inside their covered tops in order to unlatch and open them.

"Installing animal-proof trash and recycling receptacles will prevent the foxes and other wildlife from entering the containers and help eliminate trash spills that attract the foxes and other wildlife into inhabited areas and roadsides, where they may be struck by a vehicle," said Julie King, director of conservation and wildlife management for the conservancy, in a release.

The conservancy says it has also posted special road signs warning motorists to be watchful of animals crossing, and has set up other signs reminding people not to feed foxes.

Six of California's eight Channel Islands are home to separate, island-specific subspecies of the island fox (Urocyon littoralis). They're a lot smaller -- think cat-sized -- than gray foxes, at a typical shoulder height of about 4-5 inches, length of 20 inches, and weight of 2.2 to 6.2 pounds.

The canine distemper virus that decimated the Catalina Island fox is thought to have been brought to the island by a stowaway raccoon, according to the conservancy.