Animals lovers province-wide are undoubtably embracing the concept of a ban on trapping foxes. However, the concept raises the question - how many foxes are too many?
We are a small province with declining woodland that offers security and food sources to a vast number of wild creatures, foxes included.
Foxes are cute, no one can argue but they remain wild animals whether perfectly poised on a front deck or gracefully prancing along the roadside.
Appearance aside the fact remains: foxes are wild creatures. Therefore instinct takes precedence over living in harmony with humans.
The fox’s natural habitat is shared with coyotes, rabbits, raccoons, mice, snakes, birds etc. According to nature’s plan conflict exists among these creatures - in accordance to the sequence dictated.
Consequently discordance emerges periodically, especially as space declines. This often drives wild creatures into open spaces typically inhabited by humans ie: golf courses, urban centres, backyard sheds, basically anywhere animals might sense the freedom to roam or find shelter.
That brings us to coyotes, one of the fox’s natural enemies. Coyotes don’t usually hunt or eat them but when it comes to territorial differences a coyote will kill and eat a fox to survive.
If a ban were to increase the fox population on PEI would that make them more of a target for coyotes? Would coyotes follow the foxes into the open (more than they are now) and onto people’s property in search of food that will surely diminish?
A ban on trapping could open a Pandora’s Box of headaches greater than the insignificant number of foxes trapped on PEI each year. On average 400-700 pelts are harvested each year, maybe fewer.
Perhaps if people would consider the fact that hot dogs and other processed man-made meats aren’t a nutritious food source for foxes the natural world would take care of its own creatures.
Foxes are hunters and foragers. They eat rodents, birds, fish, frogs and whatever instinct tempts them to go after.
While the main predator of the fox is coyotes, the other is vehicles. An inflated fox population poses a potential hazard on our roadways.
There is also the issue of foxes, as with all wild animals, transmitting disease to domesticated animals such as cats and dogs.
To reiterate, foxes are pretty, but who, or what, would be better served by seeing their populations swell?
Humans are already creating changes in the environment that negatively affect animal’s well-being and we have invaded their space. Haven’t we done enough already?
Heather Moore is editor of The Eastern Graphic. She can be reached at email@example.com