How much of a pest is the urban fox?
I remember seeing the local foxhunt gather, young enough to be at eyeball level with the big dogs, and even then feeling slightly sorry for the prey they were about to pursue. I suppose that the hounds were the reason why it was relatively rare to see a fox when growing up in the countryside.
Fast forward a good few years and re-locating to the city I think it’s fair to say that the sight of an urban fox is relatively mundane. All the same I do take a firmer grip on our (podgy) old hound lest he give chase and comes off second best!
Urban foxes have been seen in Edinburgh since the 1920s and while sightings are common-place and newspapers report that numbers are on the increase – encouraged by the removal of weekly bin collection say some – more official sources tend to suggest that this is not the case. What does appear to be the case however that while remain very much wild animals the long period of city-dwelling has led to emboldened behaviour around humans which is causing concern to a number of people.
Calls for a cull tend to produce a mixed reaction however and without strong evidence of an increase in numbers are unlikely to be upheld. Urban foxes are of course scavengers and less food equates to less foxes.While foxes frequent our gardens wildlife and environmental agencies are generally united against feeding them as this will cause disruption to their natural order of population regulation.
While the debate over culling continues we will continue to come across vulpes vulpes tribe members on a daily basis. The City of Edinburgh Council website contains a helpful section ‘Living with urban foxes – your questions answered’ which provides a good deal of practical information on the subject.