Feeding foxes? “The food they are getting from people is not healthy”

An over-friendly fox at Blooming Point Beach, who was potentially a victim of human interference. Grace Gormley photo

By Grace Gormley

Oct. 19, 2016

The fox population is extremely “healthy” all over the Island particularly in urban areas, says Luke Peters, the lab and wildlife technician for the wildlife conservation program at Holland College.

Although the population is hyper-abundant right now, Peters says feeding foxes is very negative, and is aware that some Islanders and tourists visiting the Island don’t realize just how harmful it is.

“The food the foxes are getting from people is not healthy, and it’s caused an increase of parasites as well as other health concerns.”

It is obvious that people continue to feed this species, as any Islander will notice the over-friendliness of foxes near the beaches and urban areas all over P.E.I.

“Feeding them will boost the population in the short term, however it leads to habituation in humans which can result in the fox having to be removed.”

Jon Wedge agrees. He’s a photographer who specializes in wildlife pictures and has a passion for foxes.

“Foxes have survived for thousands of years without our help, and our interference with that is a negative not a positive,” said Wedge.

Wedge knows foxes are smart, sly and determined creatures after spending hours taking their photos, and getting noticed for them all over social media.

“They command our respect, just like any other wild animal.”

Wedge said that foxes are lazy animals by nature, and if they have a readily available food source that they can access everyday then they will stop exploring their territory range.

A fox has a natural instinct to hunt, and Wedge says losing this survival skill can be lost over just a couple generations of foxes.

Both Peters and Wedge discourage feeding these amazing creatures, and hopes that Islanders will continue to admire their beauty from a distance.