Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Master Reynard leaves the building

My little red liveried friend has now left for rehabbing at the Vale ,Glos. The point is he should have just been left a free fox but sadly someone taught him that humans were his friend and of course that's not true.

Many foxes die in many ways, run over, trapped, necks broken and ripped to shreds by hounds. One which particularly horrified me was stabbed inside a fox trap. That will live with me forever and each time I get asked to save a fox I do so partly in memory of a terrified small animal drowning in his own blood which filled his lungs not able to escape his tormentors.

Our latest fox was getting into trouble by wondering into houses at meal times in a farming community in Pembrokeshire. There were several miffed cats that lost their lunch and some angry farmers afraid their chickens were on the menu at cafe fox.
This boy was too tame to find his own food and preferred tins of cat food. I know people mean well when they humanise fox cubs but it then puts the fox at risk because they go waltzing up to people when the novelty wanes and the pungent aroma of dog fox pervaids all and they are abandoned.
They cant feed themselves and in desperation will take anything they can to stay alive as long as its easy pickings.

There are two ends of the scale when it comes to foxes either they are evil shadows killing all and sundry for fun that should be brutalised and forced into extinction.
Or they are a magical part of English heritage that eat everything from bramble leaves to MacDonald's leftovers. They are nocturnal and bone idle. When they gain access to chickens they will kill all but they remove bodies one by one and bury them in a larder. When people claim foxes killed for fun its not true. They just got caught before they could remove all the meat to safety. Two foxes care for cubs, mum and an "Auntie" which could be a previous older female cub. When there is a litter of cubs already no other litters are produced because that would make an area overrun and all would starve. Foxes don't invade our habitat, we invaded theirs !
Its therefore our responsibility to protect both our livestock from foxes and also our natural foxes right to survive.

Our latest little chap I didn't even take photos of because I was determined that I would not interact with him other than to feed him and change bedding. It was too much temptation when whilst I was sat next to his cage he leant against me. I passed a doggy chew in and he gently took it whilst staring kindly into my eyes. He loved chews and toys being a late cub from last year. On one of our look but don't touch sessions he sniffed my flattened palm all over and then next time he extended his nose through the bars almost gesturing for attention. Being very wary that he would be quicker than me and could sever my finger if he wanted I carefully held my breath and stroked his velvety nose. I became to realise on our many chats how tame he actually was.

This morning he left on his transport run carried out by three kind people. We lifted his cage from the barn and his demeanor changed. He hissed and snarled threatening when I cleaned his cage for the last time. Before I could just open the door and do what I wanted.This time he was afraid.He eventually settled in the car and I'm told went to sleep. He was passed to two more cars to finish his journey.
The best we can hope for is he will learn to be wild and be released to take his chance in the world or if as I suspect his life has been blighted unintentionally by misplaced human kindness he will be neutered and live with other foxes in huge pens. This means he gets to be a free fox but will get his meals provided.
I hope he gets to be freed one day and I hope all his interaction with humans will disappear from his mind. I will remember forever a little chap gazing into my eyes as a friend,who let me stroke him and who enjoyed his tinned lunches with dog chews for afters who was very loved for just a short while.

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