The Toronto Wildlife Centre is once again urging people to leave a family of foxes alone, after the body of one of the kits was discovered at Woodbine Beach.
“Sadly a fox kit was found dead at the Beaches last weekend. The wounds suggested the kit was killed by a larger predator — likely an aggressive dog since the body was left behind,” the Toronto Wildlife Centre (TWC) said in a tweet. “Please keep your dogs on leash, avoid the den, and share the importance of respecting wildlife.”
After a few initial sightings down by the boardwalk, the little fox family quickly captured the hearts of people across Toronto. As a result, photographers and residents eager to catch the kits in action, flocked to the Beaches in the hopes of seeing them first-hand. Some residents were even so bold as to attempt hand-feeding the babies, forcing TWC to issue another warning.
“Individuals have been spotted hand-feeding the babies and gathering too closely when taking photos,” the TWC said in a Facebook post. “This puts the kits at risk of becoming habituated to humans and stresses the fox parents who are unable to reach and bring food to their young through the crowd of people.”
In an effort to protect the fox family, the city set up barricades around the den to block residents from gathering around them.
Sadly a fox kit was found dead at the Beaches last weekend. The wounds suggested the kit was killed by a larger predator – likely an aggressive dog since the body was left behind. Please keep your dogs on leash, avoid the den, and share the importance of respecting wildlife. pic.twitter.com/gdJPyeGzP6
— Toronto Wildlife Centre (@TWC_Wildlife) May 22, 2020
The photo above shows a TWC volunteer performing “aversive conditioning” in order to re-train the foxes to fear and avoid people.
“Although it may look unpleasant, volunteers rushing at a fox kit, and clapping or stomping on the ground, is what they should be doing to help save the foxes,” read another tweet by TWC.
View this post on Instagram
The wildlife agency hopes that this time, residents will heed their warnings and advice.
“We’re encouraging the community to rally together to help protect the remaining kits (at least five) and their parents,” TWC said in a statement. “Please keep all dogs supervised and on a leash, and steer your beloved pets clear of the area the foxes reside in.”