Every year in September, animal lovers and conservationists around the world come together to celebrate National Fox Day. This day serves as a reminder of the unique and often misunderstood place that foxes hold in our ecosystem. It's an opportunity to shed light on the vital work of organisation and individuals who care for and protect these magnificent creatures.
Foxes: Nature's Majestic Wonders
Foxes, with their striking russet coats and bushy tails, have long captured our imaginations. Featured as whimsical cartoon characters such as Tails in Sonic the Hedgehog and cunning creatures in Disney's Robin Hood. Yet, despite their undeniable charm, foxes are often persecuted and misunderstood. National Fox Day provides a platform to rectify these misconceptions and appreciate the role these creatures play in our environment.
Brent Lodge Wildlife Hospital, nestled in the heart of West Sussex, is dedicated to the treatment, rehabilitation, and release of wildlife, including fox casualties. One important aspect of caring for foxes is to prevent imprinting. If a fox cub grows up to associate food with humans or any human activity they could learn to forage and nest around human populations, making them a potential nuisance which can then lead to persecution by some members of the public. Animal care staff take extra care during the frequent handling, feeding, and interactions to prevent imprinting.
One of the standout features of our approach to fox rehabilitation is the use of special enrichment enclosures. These enclosures provide a safe and stimulating environment for recovering foxes, ensuring that they regain their strength and abilities before being released back into the wild. In these enclosures, foxes are given the opportunity to practice their natural behaviours, such as hunting and foraging. This not only helps them physically but also mentally, ensuring that they can thrive once they return to their natural habitat.
The Plight of the Fox: A Special Species in Peril
Foxes are a truly beautiful species that have been unjustly persecuted for centuries. The once rural fox has now been urbanized due to their diminishing natural habitats. The inception of urban foxes dates back to the 1930s when they first began establishing their presence in our cities. This era was characterized by the availability of affordable land and the construction of extensive semi-detached suburbs, primarily in the period leading up to World War II. These newly developed suburban areas featured a unique landscape: low-density housing accompanied by relatively spacious gardens, creating an ideal habitat for foxes. Consequently, foxes seized the opportunity and their populations swiftly expanded. Originating from these burgeoning suburbs, foxes gradually extended their territory into less hospitable urban regions. This pioneering spirit allowed them to adapt to various urban landscapes.
Today, a notable fact is that most cities in southern England, and even a select few in the northern regions, host urban fox populations. However, it is essential to dispel a common misconception: the fox population in many towns and cities reached its carrying capacity years ago. The carrying capacity refers to the maximum number of animals that a specific habitat can sustain without environmental degradation. Contrary to prevailing belief, the population remains relatively stable in these areas, with no substantial surges or declines in numbers.
Despite their crucial role in controlling rodent populations and maintaining the balance of local ecosystems, they often face unfounded prejudice. Foxes are not protected legally. For many years they were hunted for their fur, and as part of countryside tradition. The Hunting Act 2004 outlawed hunting with dogs in England and Wales, from 18th February 2005. This also applies to the hunting of deer, hares and mink. Habitat destruction, and accidental or deliberate harm from human activities also pose significant threats to their survival and cause of casualty.
National Fox Day serves as a reminder that foxes deserve our understanding and protection, not persecution. It's a day to appreciate their importance as an iconic British wild animal in our ecosystem and to advocate for their conservation.
Partnering for a Fox-Friendly Future
Here are two remarkable ways that people can support the conservation efforts of organisations like Brent Lodge.
Bare Kind Bamboo Socks, a company committed to sustainability and wildlife conservation, has joined forces with Brent Lodge to raise awareness about foxes. Bare Kind offers a unique line of fox-themed socks, not only stylish but also comfortable, thanks to their eco-friendly bamboo material. What sets these socks apart is their mission: Bare Kind donates 10% of the proceeds from their fox socks to Brent Lodge Wildlife Hospital.
Foxy Friends Story Book
Talented and passionate animal lover Christine Chambers has self published a children's book about three foxes, called "Red Fox Does What? Surely Not!". Aimed at 3-8 year olds the story is about a Red Fox trying to bake a special cake for his friends. Unfortunately, things keep going wrong until eventually his friends arrive and help. It's about friendship and not giving up with a nod towards shining a fun light on foxes. A pound from every book is donated to Brent Lodge Wildlife Hospital. Simply email us to purchase a copy.
By purchasing either of these fun foxy gifts, individuals can directly contribute to the care and rehabilitation of foxes in need. This partnership between these animal-loving individuals and Brent Lodge is a shining example of how businesses and wildlife organisations can work together to make a positive impact on our environment.
Let's Give Foxes a Fair Chance
National Fox Day is a time to celebrate these enigmatic creatures, learn more about their importance in our ecosystem, and support organisations like Brent Lodge in their tireless efforts to protect and rehabilitate foxes. By raising awareness, changing misconceptions, and collaborating with like-minded businesses such as Bare Kind Bamboo Socks or local authors like Christine, we can ensure a brighter future for foxes and the delicate balance of our natural world. So, mark your calendars for the next Fox Day in September and let's make every day a fox-friendly day.
By Asha Park