Fox numbers could be on the rise

By Kevin Unitt Friday 15 February 2013 Updated: 19/02 08:55

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A fox raiding the back of a car in Leamington. (s)

IS THIS further evidence of how brazen and fearless foxes are becoming across Warwickshire?

This photograph, of a fox jumping into the back of a car and stealing food from a lunchbox, was sent in by a concerned reader.

The snap was taken a week ago in Eastfield Road, Leamington, and perhaps highlights the rising numbers of foxes and their increasingly desperate attempts to find food in the current bad weather.

It comes after a four-week-old baby boy suffered hand and facial injuries after being attacked by a fox in his south-east London home last week.

The Leamington picture was taken by Rebecca Layton, who told the paper: “My parents live on the road and see several foxes in their garden most days now, including on their shed roof.

“I spotted this fox in the drive of a neighbour of theirs. It just jumped into the car, ripped open a lunchbox and started eating a baguette. It only ran off when the driver returned to his car, but it didn't seem scared.

“They no longer seem bothered by humans at all. They regularly just sit there from the shed staring at us.”

The Observer has previously reported concerns of several readers in Warwick Gates over the rise in fox numbers.

The wiley animal has generated negative headlines across the country for several years since two separate incidents in London of foxes biting women in their own homes. An MP even spoke in parliament to push for them to be reclassified as vermin.

But Stephen Trotter, chief executive of Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, told the Observer this week there was no evidence to support the idea that fox numbers had increased in Warwickshire in the last year or two.

He added: "There is no doubt that the urban fox population is attracted to towns by the easy availability of food waste left by people – and there are also some people who do deliberately feed them. Whether this happens in Leamington or not, I don’t know, but there have been cases elsewhere in Warwickshire.

"In respect of the recent calls for a fox cull - it is of course already legal to kill foxes by shooting and foxes are not a protected species. However, our view is that we do not believe that a cull would be an effective control measure in urban areas. It would simply be too difficult and expensive.

"It’s really important to recognise that no one has ever been killed by a fox, to my knowledge, and incidents like the one reported from London are extremely rare and unusual."

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