It’s quite amazing to think that we share our city with 10,000 foxes. As London’s boundaries have sprawled ever outwards they’ve gobbled up many rural habitats, leaving foxes with no choice but to swap their tweed jackets for skinny jeans, grow a beard, get a tattoo and try to make it in the big city. And with its sheltered gardens, expansive parks and easy food sources, London has provided the perfect environment for the urban fox to thrive.
But city living and daily contact with humans has brought its share of problems for our vulpine neighbours. Besides the diseases and car accidents, even worse has been the misinformation that has led to many unnecessary culls. Contrary to what some think, foxes are classified as wild animals not vermin. Far from being pests, experts believe that they play an important part in London’s eco-system – keeping rodent numbers down.
Fortunately, there are groups like the Mama Cat Trust dedicated to educating people about these beautiful animals and rescuing them from harm. Originally established to rescue and humanely neuter stray cats in Spain, the North London-based organisation has found itself increasingly responding to the needs of animals closer to home.
Dave the fox’s lucky day-suffering badly from mange-humanely trapped on a city farm+now in care where we hope he will make a full recovery ❤ pic.twitter.com/KWSjI3SFFG
— Karen Heath Mama Cat (@kittykaren) August 9, 2017
Last year, the Trust’s Founder, Karen Heath, spearheaded a campaign to save a family of (clearly educationally-minded) foxes who had made a home for themselves in the grounds of an Islington primary school… perhaps just trying to game the admissions policy? The school planned to bring in exterminators on health and safety grounds. But Karen’s campaign mobilised 200 supporters – including teachers and parents – causing the school to reverse its plans and explore more humane deterrent methods.
Since then, foxes have been an ever more important part of Karen’s work. She now runs monthly meet-ups in Holloway for those interested in learning or becoming rescue volunteers. Karen is also hoping to raise enough money to turn her voluntarily-run group into a full charity, so animal lovers looking for a good fundraising cause for their next charitable adventure might want to consider this as an option.
I was called out to this baby yesterday when he was found panicking on the 8th floor of a construction site! pic.twitter.com/ADfE4zkpZA
— Karen Heath Mama Cat (@kittykaren) 29 April 2017
If you want to get involved with the Trust’s work, the next meeting is on 18th September at 7:30pm in Holloway. Car owners are especially welcomed as many foxes need to be transported to safety but for those without transport, there are other things that can be done to help.
— Karen Heath Mama Cat (@kittykaren) 10 September 2017