A fox family’s demise | AspenTimes.com

A fox family’s demise

Dear Editor:

To the person who shot the female fox (and perhaps the male?): We have had the privilege of living near the fox den on Upper Cattle Creek Road, in Missouri Heights, which has produced so much viewing pleasure for everyone driving up and down the El Jebel hill for the past five years. This year was exceptionally enjoyable, with the litter of eight kits and the apparent success of the parents to raise them nearly to weaning with no loss of life. (Previous years, a litter of four or five would result in only two or three surviving offspring.)

I would say at least a hundred cars stopped each week to watch the kits play and interact with the parents. Many people (some of whom had professional equipment) stopped to take photographs. Then, suddenly, Mom was gone. Dad made a valiant effort to care for the kits, and we were amused by their futile efforts to nurse him and play with him, but he did continue to bring them food to keep them alive. And then he was gone. We fear that all the babies have died, or will. They were not old enough to get the benefit of their parents’ life lessons on hunting for food.

Through the grapevine, we heard of a rancher who shot a fox or two that was killing his chickens. We have raised chickens, and we know that chickens have to be protected with fencing. How sad that someone has to resort to shooting any predator that comes on his property. Unfortunately for all of us, this particular violence destroyed a wildlife family many of us knew and loved. Each year we have all enjoyed the litters of these foxes and their increasing success at raising their young. If they had not bothered the chickens before, perhaps it was because they never previously had eight mouths to feed. They were only trying to feed their family.

Because this individual is too lazy or ignorant to know that you can protect your livestock without killing everything that comes on your property, all of us have lost something precious. We fear and suspect that the fox den will now be empty for years to come. What a loss for all of us. Neighbor: Please consider enforcing your own security next year, and in the future, rather than just blasting away the wild creatures that dare to come on your land. If we had only known what you intended to do, ANY of us would have helped you reinforce your fencing so our foxes could have lived.

Janet and David Boyle

Missouri Heights