Threat posed by wild foxes

People are being warned to be more cautious and vigilant around foxes as numbers of reported incidents involving the wild animal are on the rise.

Foxes are becoming more dangerous to people and animals. Sightings of foxes in gardens are being reported more often and fears that they are no longer afraid or nervous around people or domestic animals are increasing.

Last week it was reported that a 37 year old male had collapsed in Edinburgh’s St Michael’s Parish Church Cemetery and woke up later having been attacked, seemingly by a fox. Andrew Stewart took an overdose of pills and blacked out. His nose and fingers had been bitten and received treatment for his injuries in the Royal Infirmary. This attack has raised fears that foxes are becoming far bolder in approaching people; with vulnerable groups such as young children and the elderly at most risk. City councillors have been pushing for environmental Chiefs to take action.

Not only are these wild animals potentially dangerous, we have never been faced with this problem before and as a community we know little about how harmful these animals could be. A spokesperson for The Fox Project said “Incidents where a fox attacks an animal or human are very rare. Normally the fox will give them a warning to scare them rather than attacking straight away.”

City pet owners have also been warned to lock up their animals as foxes will use them for food. Despite a national rise in reported fox attacks Paul Gallagher from the Scottish Wildlife Trust feels there is little to fear; “When one or two things happen like this the press sensationalise it and make foxes out to be evil and dangerous when really it’s no more a problem now than it was a few years ago.”

In the animals defence Trevor Williams from The Fox Trust said “Occasionally there are reports of guinea pigs and rabbits taken from insecure pens but it is the fault of the owners. Foxes don’t seek out trouble and they’re not sturdy enough to stand up to dog or cat attacks.”

People need to protect their children and domestic animals by taking measures themselves. High fences are the best deterant. It is not a good idea to leave food out in your garden however Trevor Williams has said “we don’t advocate feeding but people have every legal right to feed foxes if they wish.”

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