The Toronto Wildlife Centre has been pleading with people in Toronto to stop surrounding, photographing and touching the adorable family of foxes living under the Woodbine Beach boardwalk for roughly a month, and now it seems one of the babies has died.
The centre took to Facebook Friday morning to explain that one of the baby foxes was found dead last weekend by a TWC volunteer showing up for her pre-dawn shift, and the wounds suggest the kit was likely killed by a larger predator — or in other words, someone's dog.
Sadly a fox kit was found dead at the Beaches last weekend. The wounds suggested the kit was killed by a larger predator – likely an aggressive dog since the body was left behind. Please keep your dogs on leash, avoid the den, and share the importance of respecting wildlife. pic.twitter.com/gdJPyeGzP6— Toronto Wildlife Centre (@TWC_Wildlife) May 22, 2020
"Many owners have been seen letting their dogs charge at the foxes, sniff them or the den they're hiding in – and most often the dogs are off-leash. Consequently, the baby foxes have grown accustomed to the presence and scent of dogs, losing their natural fear of them, along with people," they wrote.
But while the kits certainly make for an adorable photo, TWC has been doing everything in their power to teach people the importance of leaving them alone.
TWC volunteers have been taking shifts every day to do what they can to protect the foxes and perform aversive conditioning, which helps to retrain the foxes to fear and avoid people.
This includes volunteers rushing at a fox kit, clapping loudly or stomping on the ground to induce fear. And though it may not be pleasant to watch, the centre says it's absolutely necessary for their survival.
Bylaw officers have even been patrolling the area to keep people away over the past few weeks, fencing has been put up around the den and a camera has also been set up to monitor the well-being of the fox family, along with the actions of the public.
Still, TWC says the innocent lives of the remaining babies may also be lost if passersby do not keep their dogs away.
"We're turning to the public to rally together and help spread the word, especially in the beaches community. If you live in the area, please lead by example and keep your dogs on leash and avoid the den site, and encourage fellow dog walkers to do the same," they wrote.
"If it's absolutely necessary to take a photo, do so quickly and from afar and then be on your way. But for the well-being of the foxes, it's best to avoid the area altogether. Please speak out and spread awareness about the importance of respecting these wild animals and leaving them be."
by Mira Miller via blogTO