brian May cubs
Our very own red specials
These three little cubs, Archie, Alisha and Sebastian all arrived with us orphaned and very alone. They were all scared and a little under weight. As soon they were strong enough they were put together. Once together they started eating well and playing and developing in our fox run. They started behaving like normal cubs,very alert and very entertaining but with a healthy fear of humans.
They are rarely handled after they are eight weeks old apart from the occasional health checks. Sebastian was very tiny and had to be bottle fed for slightly longer. Ironically he was the most handled cub but also the most wary of us. He still remained afraid of humans and would always flee. He would snap and growl at the other two when fed but as with all foxes was never aggressive to humans.
We were careful to introduce them slowly to each other, most fox cubs are sociable. Sebastian was the youngest and the leader of the pack so we didn't need to worry. They were friends almost immediately and looked somewhat relieved to have each other.
In the confinement of their purpose build run they learned to dig and play. They grew strong and their natural instincts kicked in. They naturally bury food and eat small amounts. It is this that has seen them survive through tough winters in the wild. Foxes are clever, they have acute hearing, fantastic eyesight and an awesome sense of smell.
We watch them closely through the camera before we move them to their release site. We release our wild life softly. That's to say the release is controlled and safe for not only our foxes but the local population. But where would we release them, we were full and has no site for them, then a wonderful man changed all that.
Once the cubs were fit and strong they were moved to their new temporary home on their release site. In this home they get to know the local wildlife through the safety of their cage. They’re nervous for several
weeks before they settle in. Once relaxed and happy we open a small door in the run to enable them to come and go as they please. It is important they feel safe just as they would in their mothers earth. They will slowly explore from this safe home and eventually leave for the safety of their new freshly dug earth or chosen place of rest.
a temporary home
Archie, Alisha and Sebastian settle into their new temporary home within several hundred acres of fox friendly land.
The hole in the wire that Archie and the gang have excavated through is three inches wide. Yes, three inches! The wire was opened and bent by us to get a camera inside. So these clever guys built a ten foot long tunnel and got all the earth out through a 3 inch gap. It’s a good point to add all our british wildlife can get through a four inches gap.
Over the following weeks the cubs would spend less and less time in their earth and more and more time roaming their extensive release site.
They were still fed inside the run for the next few months until they were able to fend for themselves .The amount and times of the feeing would vary to encourage them to find their own food.
The food we fed was bland, and pretty soon the cubs were not eating much of it at all. They were taking the food away and burying it. We now knew they could survive without us.
It was fantastic. All the cubs are eating bugs, fruit and earthworms. They were starting to support themselves. They were totally free and despite their sad beginning in life at the hand of man the balance, has been addressed again. They were where they belong in the wild having been given a second chance.
Captive foxes usual make 14 years, in the wild their life expectancy is less than two. Lets hope these guys manage to take care of themselves.
As always many people are involved in this process . From the members of the public who contacted us, to the care givers of the cubs and to the people that own release sites and finally the people that care for the land.
Three very special and happy cubs now with adult coats, lets hope we get a glimpse of them through the year.
In this case the owner of the land provided for this release is Brian May. Rock G-d and legend. The land that Brian provided for this release was fantastic. It is totally organic and pesticide free and perfect cub territory.
Brian has taken the time to support us and these cubs on their return to the wild. We are hugely grateful for his help and that of his team. These lucky young foxes have a fabulous second chance in what can only be described as paradise. Thank you to Brian and his team Claire, Pete, Paul and Graham.
Just like wildlife you all rock!
All the cubs grew well and over the last twelve months we had glimpses of them all on our security cameras. These are some of the pictures above. They have a wonderful home and we hope to see some wild cubs next year.
Brian has continued to support them and all our wildlife and by building some seven star enclosures. He is a wonderful man and with a very special passion for our red specials and our monochrome ones too.
We had our first litter of wild cubs from Alisha this year, it's amazing to see them and how well she has taught them. We only get quick sightings of them and have to rely on hidden cameras but they are there and they belong to her.
Over the years we have seen the foxes come and go. In bad snowy weather and when injured they return to their release site. Do they come home for help or just comeback to a place where they once felt safe and slept without one eye open. Although they are totally wild and we leave alone we have still had occasion to trap some and treat for broken jaws, legs and bones caused by car accidents. Foxes live in captivity for up to 14 years but in the wild rarely make their second birthday.
Sometimes we wonder why we release them to the unsafe wild world but when you see them play and hunt free from cages you know why, they are where they truly belong ........free.
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