Fox Defies Persecutors and Escapes Drag Snare
Wildlives has admitted an unprecedented number of foxes this year. Spirit was found by a lady walking her dog: he had a drag snare caught through his mouth, causing extensive injury. Despite the awful state of his mouth and jaw however, he has been one of the loudest and most uppity of Wildlives' boarders. His wounds have healed well, and he is now fit and ready for release. However, given the circumstances of his admission, he cannot simply be taken back to where he was found. Instead, he will be transferred to the Fox Project in Kent, and that organisation will take on the job of finding a suitable release site and introducing him there. This will be no mean feat: foxes are at their most aggressive right now, marking out their territories in preparation for the breeding season. Thus, wherever Spirit is released, there will be other foxes that try to drive him off. In addition, there is a lonely vixen somewhere who has lost her mate. She will be in trouble when she has cubs, as she will have no partner to go hunting for food. Another displaced fox was Firefly. Rentokill was hired to remove him and they sent him to a veterinary surgeon to be put to sleep. Luckily, the vet was more conscientious and had him transferred to Wildlives. Like Spirit though, Firefly is likely to have difficulty establishing himself on a new territory at this time of the year. Firefly
Precious Fox with Precious Little Fur
Rangers from a local park became concerned after several people reported having seen a sick fox in the area. Wildlives loaned them its cage trap and the fox was brought in. Precious, as she was named, had mange, and had lost just about all her fur. She also had a large abscess and numerous smaller wounds where she had chewed herself to relieve the itching. It is strange to note that, although a fully-grown fox, without her fur she is about the same size as a cat. Precious is responding well to treatment and we are now waiting for her fur to make an appearance.
Hedgehogs should still be hibernating, but Wildlives continues to admit underweight hogs. Please keep your eyes open for them. A report on hedgehogs by Dr Paul Bright, is due to be published later this year, investigating the declining numbers in the UK. Chief among the causes is likely to be the obliteration of nesting and feeding sites as people abandon lawns and hedges in favour of patios and decking.
Brightlingsea School
A big thank you to volunteer Lisa Ray, who recently did a talk on Wildlives and the work carried out here, to over 700 pupils at Brightlingsea primary school.
DEFRA Investigation
Wildlives has admitted another poisoned fox. She clung on for five days, before we lost her. During the process of caring for her, she acquired the name Miracle, and although the miracle we hoped for did not materialise, she was a beautiful fox and the name stuck. Miracle was picked up in the same area as one of the other cases of confirmed poisoning that Wildlives has dealt with and a Wildlife Management Advisor from DEFRA has recently visited the Centre to begin investigations and find those responsible. If you find any animals that you suspect have been poisoned by pesticides or if you witness any pesticide spillages or see any poisonous bait, please do report it. DEFRA depends on information from members of the public in order to assess and regulate the use of poisons. They run a 24-hour freephone service on 0800 321 600.
The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981
The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 provides that all snares must be checked every 24 hours. This is to ensure that trapped animals are not left to suffer for long periods. A drag snare is a snare that is not fixed down, so when an animal gets caught up in it, it crawls away and hides with the snare still attached, and dies a slow, painful death. Thus, drag snares are contrary to the spirit, if not to the letter of the law.
Newsletter Editor: Ruth
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