December 13 2013 Latest news:
Sunday, February 10, 2013
Attack on four-month-old baby by a fox in Bromley sparks culling debate
To cull or not to cull, that is the question.
I’m sure the mother of the newborn baby attacked by a fox this weekend doesn’t care that it’s a “rare occurrence”, as argued by the RSPCA. Rare or not, her child was savagely attacked and suffered horrific images at just four weeks old. Not only that, the mother will have to live with the terrifying image of her baby in the jaws of a wild animal, something you wouldn’t expect at a house in Bromley.
I’m sure the parents of nine-month-old twins Lola and Isabella Koupparis attacked by a fox in 2010 in east London also don’t care that it’s a rare thing – it happened to their children and, as later explained by their mother, was a “living nightmare” seeing her beautiful babies covered in blood after being mauled by a fox.
We know this is a rare occurrence, but that doesn’t make it any easier for the victims.
But the question of whether or not to cull these animals is a tough one.
I’m no expert, but I have had the heartache of having my old, deaf cat attacked by a fox. He managed to escape but was left severely traumatised.
Now I’m not comparing that to having a child mauled, but it was horrible all the same and conjured up such anger that at that point I would have signed any petition calling for a cull.
But for the many fox haters out there are just as many fox lovers and both have strong arguments.
Foxes may seem to be more common these days but according to experts, numbers have not increased. In fact, they say numbers have declined. What we have seen though is foxes becoming bolder, used to coming into contact with humans. This is not surprising as over time of course they are going to become more used to us.
We also don’t help the situation by leaving out food for birds which attract foxes, or rats, which subsequently attract foxes. Or we throw out food leftovers which also draw the animals in.
If, as experts suggest, numbers have not increased then the argument for a cull can’t come down to an increase of foxes.
And can we really cull these animals for becoming bolder? In most cases, foxes flee if a human goes near them.
Authorities in Bromley say urban foxes are becoming more common in the area and say there should be a limited cull.
The problem, however, is that once a fox moves from one area or dies, another will move into its den. It seems never-ending.
Also, how far can you take it; foxes were hunted to extinction in the 18th century and had to be imported from continental Europe to re-populate the UK. But with reports of foxes coming into people’s homes and this latest horrific attack, it would seem good sense to do something about it.
Cull or not, perhaps it should come down to us to help; we should try and deter them from coming into our gardens.
Don’t leave food out on the ground and pick up any fruit that has fallen from trees as foxes eat that too. Be careful when putting out rubbish; make sure any scraps are in a secure bag and in a plastic bin. Don’t give foxes any opportunity to set up home in your garden so make outbuildings secure. Keep pets secure so if you keep chickens, for example, make sure the run is secure otherwise a wily fox will see it as easy pickings.
Whether for or against a cull, there are things we can do to deter foxes - it doesn’t take much effort but can help avoid more horrific attacks on babies.