Beautiful Creature or Vermin?
How do you solve the problem of the urban fox?
Prompted by an interesting discussion on the Ealing Today forum and my own back garden experiences I've been investigating whether the fox issue is getting worse.
It seems everyone has a tale to tell of problems caused by this once nocturnal animal - the screeching at night, fouling in gardens and some of the bolder ones even entering houses during the day.
Foxes do tend to get a bad press. Have you ever blamed them for ripping open your bin bags? I know I have, but chances are it's more likely that the local cat, dog or squirrel is responsible.
Regardless of them being unfairly scapegoated (or should that be scapefoxed?) they can be a real nuisance. So, what should be done?
I was rather surprised to discover private pest control companies can trap and remove them, or, for an extra charge shoot them.
I was quoted £250 (plus vat) by one firm who told me the kill was 'quick and clean' and done by a licensed marksman.
Is this really the answer?
Ealing Council does not trap or destroy foxes as they say that research shows this has little, if any, effect in reducing their numbers.
When a fox is removed another fox will quickly take over the vacant territory.
The council says it's impossible to tell how many foxes there are in the borough, so, suggestions that it's getting worse are based on anecdotal evidence only.
Interestingly however the numbers of complaints about them has actually fallen.
There were 143 in the year ending March 2008 and this had fallen to 104 in the year ending March 2009.
Does this mean they are causing less problems? Or perhaps we're finding our own ways of dealing with them?
I'd be interested to hear you thoughts.
Editor - EalingToday.co.uk
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October 9th, 2009