A little update from Space For Life, Biodome veterinarian, Jacques Dancosse. Feeding wild animals – a good idea? Published on March 30th, 2015.

Adult male Red FoxAdult male Red Fox

For a few weeks I’ve been contemplating writing this blog and even more so since I saw the first early images of these Red Fox kits. Just last week I was discussing the issue with the City of Montreal’s wildlife management. This morning I saw pictures posted with a narration that confirmed the worst case scenario. The Red Fox kits are being directly fed by humans for the benefit of pictures.

Male Red Fox on the runMale Red Fox on the run

In a public parks like the Montreal Botanical Garden this is extremely irresponsible behavior. Juvenile Red Fox will instinctively and progressively fear humans at approximately 9 months of age. As winter rolls around they will be wild, hand fed or not. However they have to survive the summer.

Red Fox hunting squirrelRed Fox hunting squirrel

Those who feed the young Red Fox will gradually dissapear as accessing the garden can prove expensive for some during the high season. Unfortunately the Garden will be full of visiting tourists and families. There’s also a day camp for young children in the heart of the garden.

Female Red Fox restingFemale Red Fox resting

As cute as a Red Fox may seam to some, they are viewed as dangerous rabid animals by less educated individuals. They are feared to the point were I have seen women hide in a garbage can. As these individuals are approached by Red Fox mooching for food, the amount of complaints will rise. You wouldn’t believe how many people over dramatize an encounter with a Red Fox, especially when one just stole their child’s snack right out of their hands.

Red Fox KitRed Fox Kit

The Botanicle Garden will have no choice but to react if word comes from the top (Espace pour la vie). Even though the Red Fox is very beneficial in controlling rodents and squirrels, its value decreases as administrators fear a potentially dangerous encounter with humans. In 2008 it was the case and no argument could save the Batanical Garden’s family of Red Fox. The theory is simple, there’s been Red Fox for over 50 years at the Garden. They will simply be replaced by a new family next year.

Juvenile Red Fox on the prowlJuvenile Red Fox on the prowl

Personally I would hate to think that my actions directly lead to the demise of a Red Fox family. I hope you feel the same as I do. Unfortunately I have lead a fight almost alone since 2008 to save these Red Fox year after year. When it came time, not a single photographer publicly rose a finger to help save these animals. Yet they were all there chasing them through the Garden as a form of entertainment.

Portrait of a Juvenile Red FoxPortrait of a Juvenile Red Fox

This year the Red Fox kits are in a fragile area that already has been reported to have been trampled. (Fences have now been erected to minimize human traffic) In addition the direct feeding of hotdog sausages (wieners) and other junk foods has been reported. I’ve once fed young Fox in the past. Once, I didn’t like the images and I didn’t do it next door to a children’s playground. I didn’t let the Red Fox see me put the food out. I choose organic chicken breast, not junk food.. Cut it in little cubes and I boiled it until it was fully cooked. I would only disperse it when no Red Fox was visible in the area. I didn’t feed them crap I wouldn’t feed my own children and I didn’t do it where families gather.

Portrait of a Male Red FoxPortrait of a Male Red Fox

So I beg you, please stop exposing these poor Red Fox kits to human feeding. There’s plenty of food for them in the Garden. They should learn to fear man for their own good. They won’t always live there. They will have to find new territory and a natural fear of man will give them the best odds for a long and prosperous life.

Red FoxRed Fox

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