Urban Fox issue on BBC Inside Out London

Recently on BBC’s Inside Out London, JoAnne Good presented a great feature on the urban fox issue. It contained some interesting interviews with some leading fox experts which i have transcribed below. The interviews challenge some of the facts about foxes and provide a good insight into tackling the increasing urban fox population.

Joanne GoodJoanne Good – Presenter, Actor, Animal Lover
“Overnight, foxes have gone from being an acceptable part of the London nightscene to potential killers. Is this all down to panic or are they becoming so comfortable with us, they’ve ceased to fear us and see us all as potential prey?

Although there is no official fox count, the estimated fox population in London is 10,000 and foxes have been seen on our streets for ove 80 years.

From the detailed data collected by Bristol University, we know that morre people are feeding foxes with 1 in 10 families putting foof out for our wild neighbours. By taming the urban fox, they become like any other domestic pet expecting to be fed regularly. This causes another problem: they lose their natural desire to hunt and forage, opting for handouts from humans.

The freak fox attacks of  summer 2010 are not a sign of things to come and shouldn’t bring panic to London. But making foxes tame gives them the confidence to get close to us and maybe now they are getting a bit too close for comfort.”

Ted BurdenTed Burden – Founder of The Riverside Animal Centre, the only animal wildlife emergency service in London
“We’ve had instances of people shooting foxes with airguns. It’s not legal and it’s not an appropriate weapon. It is legal in certain circumstances toshoot foxes but it has to be done without any cruelty and it has to be done professionally. Bturning an airgun on a fox is not is just not right. In the last week we have had 3 cases of foxes with multiple pellet wounds still alive. We’ve had to put all of them to sleep and they’ve suffered a great dea for nothing.

In the immdeiate aftermath of the fox attacks on the baby twins in the summer we had a wide range of phone calls. Some expressed support for the foxes but many were scared and downright aggressive, simple because a fear has been engendered about foxes and people now think they will come into your gardens and snatch your babies.

We want foxes tobe a hunting, scavenging predator. That’s where they belong in the natural order of things. What they shouldn’t be doing is hanging around takeways at night or on somebody’s patio at 6pm waiting for a handout. We msutn’t encourage that, but when we do, we see the kinds of attacks and situations we’ve seen in London this year.”

Professor Stephen HarrisProfessor Stephen Harris, University of Bristol, urban fox expert for over 15 years
“There have been remarkably few instances where children or adults have been bitten by foxes. Where it does happen, it’s normally in highly unusual circumstances. Whilst i wouldn’t dismiss it or make light of it, we also have to accept that the chances of your child being bitten by a fox is hugely less than being bitten or savaged by a domestic cat or dog.

There’s this grat myth about foxes being scavengers and actually when we were doing our research in Bristol we looked at how often they rifled through people’s dustbins. They rarely ever touch dustbins and most cities today have wheelie bins that they can’t get into anyway. Most of their food isn’t from scraps and rubbsih thrown in the street, it’s maily from food put out for them by people that feed them.

Foxes arewild animals and we should recognise that and treat them as wild animals. The trouble is that people so often see animals being handled, manipulated and played with on television and that’s wha they’re tending to do with urban foxes. Of course it might be fine if you have a fox come in and be fondled by you, but tht fox won’t know that the next person it goes up to doesn’t want to touch it or be near it and might be scared of it. That’ the problem. We should stop trying to make foxes in our cities domesticated pets.”

Peter CrowdenPeter Crowden, Chairman of the National Pest Technicians Association
“You’ve got to remember one thing and this one thing needs to get into the public’s mind…foxes are a wild animal. If there is a food source, they will keep coming back to it.

They’re not coming back to see that person, they’re coming back to see what food that person’s got!”

(Source: Inside Out London, BBC One, 1st November 2010.)

If you are experiencing problems with foxes, please view my Top 5 Most Effective Fox Repellent Reviews here…>>