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  • Writer's pictureBecky Faulks

Virginia Wildlife Rescue finds a Novel Way of Caring for Fox Kits

Executive Director Melissa Stanley wore a fox mask while feeding a rescued kit

Richmond Wildlife Center in Virginia has found a novel new way to care for orphaned fox kits. Executive Director and Founder, Melissa Stanley, wore a fox mask to feed their latest rescue and make sure the kit doesn’t associate humans with food – a move that was said to be ‘critically important’ if the fox was to be reintroduced to the wild. In a post on Facebook, the center thanked all the kit’s supporters for contributing towards the mask and reported that she was progressing well.

‘It’s important to make sure that the orphans that are raised in captivity do not become imprinted upon habituated to humans,’ the post said. ‘To prevent that, we minimize human sounds, create visual barriers, reduce handling, reduce multiple transfers amongst different species, and wear masks for the species.'

Melissa Stanley also explained that, to a fox kit whose eyes have only partially opened, the most they will see of the mask is a silhouette. From there it is vital to get them associating with their own kind as soon as possible.

‘We were able to locate fox kits of the same age and weight as ours and are working to determine what is in the best interest of the foxes,’ the post continued. ‘If they should be transferred to us, or if we should transfer ours to them. Either way, it's in the best interest of this fox to [be] with other foxes her own age.’

According to the center, a young animal that imprints on humans is less likely to learn the skills it needs to survive on its own. Becoming too comfortable around people means the animal risks losing their fear of humans, leading to dangerous situations later on.



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