Wildlife Rehabilitation & Release: Red Foxes
By: Pat Coate
Over the years I have had the opportunity to meet several wildlife rehabilitators. Each one has been a remarkable, passionate person. Wildlife rehab is incredibly hard work (exhausting really). Often the animals taken in are babies and orphans, and, like newborn children, require attention nearly 24/7. The work is NOT glamorous, IS dirty (and smelly), with a seemingly endless cycle of pen cleaning, feeding, watering, and administering meds. It doesn’t pay well (if at all) and there are a lot of detractors who wonder why rehabilitators don’t just “let nature take its course.”
The payoff, that makes all the sacrifices worth it, is the moment when the animal they’ve worked so hard for is set free to live the life it was meant for in the wild. I had the chance to observe and participate in the release of three foxes – and witness the joy, satisfaction, and really the validation of all the effort, felt by the rehabilitators. Amazing!
Note: All photos from Michele, wildlife rehabilitator located in Ontario, Canada.
The foxes were all orphans, two siblings and one solo kit. To give the lone kit the best chance for survival in the wild, it was thought best to raise it with the others. Baby foxes are called kits, cubs or pups.
… and grew.
And finally the day came when they were ready to be released. Prior to release, the foxes were given shots for rabies and distemper.
By law, the animals must be released near the area where they were found.
Two of the three left their crates pretty quickly and began to explore their new home. The third took a little more time but eventually made its way out.
They are on their way! One stopped to snack on a grasshopper – a good sign they’ll be able to fend for themselves.
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