WRAS warns against fox fear

East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service (WRAS) has stepped forward after the recent fox bite incident in Brighton.

The charity is warning against any unnecessary steps being taken towards foxes and other wildlife. Trevor Weeks, the charity's founder, said "we all expect the media these days to use sensational wording around these incidents but unfortunately some people are frightened by what is reported in the media. Although I feel sorry for what the children have been through and the worry it must have caused to the parents, we really need to put these incidents into perspective. It is clear from the London incident that there is more there than meets the eye, especially as they have refused to allow experts to investigate, and I, like so many others, do not believe that it was a fox that attacked the children, and like so many incident before it may end up being the parents trying to protect the family dog or cat which might be the true culprit. It has been known for years by the educational authorities that foxes live under such make shift buildings at schools, so it should come as no surprise that there was a fox present. The fox did not attack the child, it was defending itself – there is a significant difference. Any wild animal is going to turn round and bite if you grab its tail. I can remember as a child being warned about this by my parents and children of this age should be supervised closely."

Trevor Weeks was recently bitten by a snake whilst on a rescue which almost cost him his life, and said "I was bitten as I was handling a snake and have been bitten by various species over the years, but I have put myself in a position where I can get bitten and therefore accept the consequence, but I wouldn't dream of calling in pest control to kill them all as a result, as this would be an unbalanced response. The media reported that I have been attacked by a snake which I hadn't, it was defending itself. Wildlife bites, it's a fact of life, unless we are going to kill squirrels, birds of prey, badgers, foxes, hedgehogs, stoats , weasels, swans, deer, all the other wildlife and of course there are the farm animals which can bite so we better turn vegetarian and stop farming cattle, sheep, and any other agricultural animal that can bite! We cannot wrap people and children in cotton wool, and unfortunately it is a fact of life that unfortunate incidents happen, thousands more road accidents happen but we wouldn't get rid of cars, we reduce the speed limit down to reduce the risk. The same with wildlife, you can use deterrents in schools and homes to deter wildlife from where it is not wanted. Why murder innocent wildlife when it's not their fault. I thought we humans were supposed to be the more intelligent species. If that is genuinely the case, then we should look at the long term and more cost effective measures of deterrence rather than culling wildlife which does not help the situation in the long term and in some situations will actually end up with an increased number of foxes in the area the following year. We humans need to have a little common sense, compassion and understanding when dealing with other living creatures. If we treated humans the way we treat wildlife there would be uproar and prosecutions. Let's not blow this out of proportion or let our response be out of proportion."

"Foxes are actually beneficial in residential areas as they help keep the rat and mice population down, they carry no more diseases than a pet cat or dog. We do however warn against people regularly overfeeding wildlife as this can cause a natural imbalance in some localised areas and as a result neighbours call in pest control and then it's the foxes who suffer at the hands of human kindness. Foxes do not go round attacking each other, let alone people. You only have to look at the way in which they resolve territorial disputes: they don't fight, but dance and shout at each other! Many people are frightened that their cat will be killed by a visiting fox, this is very rare and more foxes are injured by cats each year than foxes hurting cats. Cats have sharp teeth and claws, whereas foxes have neither" said Trevor.

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Press Contact: Trevor Weeks, Director, East Sussex WRAS, 07931 523958

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