Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Urban foxes - pest or pleasure?

We discovered that we have a family of 9 foxes living in a den in our neighbours garden. One Sunday morning, we saw the whole family sunning themselves and playing in our garden. What made it special was that my little boy got to see them.

Our neighbours are not so keen on them. One couple have a veg patch on an industrial scale and seem keen on snipers being involved in solving the problem of these urban foxes. Apparently, the foxes are trashing all their hard work. You can understand their frustration but not their interest in extermination. Some Londoners seem to be pro-gun as the problem seems to be huge there, but you do get a more rational view as well on the HolyCow blog.

We suspected they were around before we saw them as something was digging holes in our garden. I've learnt now that this was probably them looking for worms to eat.

Worst still, it seems that a local Conservative Concillor has become involved, and an assistant of his quizzed us last week, just when we had returned from a long day at work and really could have done without the interruption.

Because of the talk about shooting them, I listened to what he had to say and it seems a more moderate approach may be attempted, namely a petition or involvement of the local press. I'm not sure what that will achieve, as I thought that once the cubs are mature enough, they will move on?

I grew up in the country in a large village and seldom saw foxes. I have lived in a number of cities and have often seen foxes in an urban setting. Makes you wonder about how our environment is changing.

We haven't lived in our neighbourhood long so it is one of those emotive issues that you want to avoid. The veg-growers are pretty territorial and were keen to tell us stuff and talk at us, with little interest in listening or getting to know us. We want to enjoy living in our new home but will not condone harm coming to these foxes.

There seems to be loads of wildlife coming into our garden, and we were lucky to have Great Tits nesting in our nest box (we missed them moving out as we were away that weekend...b****er!), and have started getting Great Spotted Woodpeckers climbing up our pine trees.

It seems that our foxes may be living on borrowed time. The Tory man seem to say that the Council are not interested in complaints about urban foxes and the RSPCA are not able to intervene unless animals are injured. The RSPCA have produced two useful factsheets called 'Living with foxes', and 'Wildflife Welfare'. I've also discovered the National Fox Welfare Society.

We did notice that one of the foxes is limping when it moves. Is this enough to get the RSPCA involved and possibly get the family caught humanely and relocated to a more rural setting?

I hope to look into this and if anyone has a suggestion about saving these foxes, do let me know.

When I get time, I'll post a picture of some of these foxes but their hearing, eyesight and my low-res camera mean that the pictures aren't the best.
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