Monday, 17 April 2017

Urban Foxes Also 'Retire' to Bournemouth?


A study by Brighton and Reading Universities has suggested that there currently are around 150k urban Red fox (Vulpes vulpes) in the UK and that their numbers are increasing whilst populations of their rural counterparts decline (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/apr/16/urban-foxes-number-one-for-every-300-residents-study-suggests). The numbers in particular city areas seem quite variable with the density being highest in Bournemouth (circa 23/ square Km); also high in London (circa 18/ square Km) but somewhat lower in Newcastle (circa 10/ square Km). The estimates are, however, partially based on reports by the general public and could be influenced by local enthusiasms for reporting wildlife. It is suggested that foliage in gardens is a factor that encourages the spread of this territorial predator but personally I think that local provisions of food (as waste or as material left outside for dogs and cats, along with the availability of the odd rat or wild bird) are more likely to determine the densities of these animals. Foraging for food in towns is likely to be more cost-effective for the fox than trying to make a living in the countryside.

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Pat Bateson

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