Southwest residents and landowners are being alerted to be mindful of swift foxes as they're out and about at this time of the year.

Swift foxes were extirpated in the 1930s and officially declared extirpated in 1978 before they were reintroduced into the province in the 80's.

Emily Putz, habitat stewardship coordinator for Plovers on Shore, Shrubs for Shrikes, and the Stewards of Saskatchewan banner program at Nature Saskatchewan, noted that these elusive foxes are roughly the size of a domestic cat and are one of the fastest land mammals.

"Sometimes reintroductions don't work so well, but this one was really successful," she said. "Their population has been staying steady ever since, so they were listed as endangered in the early 2000s and then since 2012 they've been listed as threatened."

A few of the threats facing swift foxes include habitat destruction and fragmentation, becoming roadkill, and second-hand poisoning from prey considered pests such as rats, mice, and snakes.

"They can be found in the southwest of Saskatchewan where there are large tracts of intact prairie," said Putz. "They're a prairie specialist, so they like the short grass prairie, and they don't like areas with a huge coyote population."

"They're a good indicator species, if they're on your land it means you have pretty much ideal prairie habitat."

Anyone who might spot a swift fox can report it to Nature Saskatchewan's toll-free HOOT line by calling 1 (800) 667 - 4668 or (306) 780 -9832.

All caller and landowner information is kept confidential and those with swift foxes on their land can join the Stewards of Saskatchewan program.