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article imageOp-Ed: The problem of Britain's urban foxes

By Alexander Baron     Feb 10, 2013 in Environment
Bromley - On February 6, a four week old baby was attacked in his cot by a fox. This is not the first such incident, and there are now calls to ensure it never happens again by culling these urban predators.
Over the past thirty years or so, foxes have moved into our cities in considerable numbers, at times quite brazenly walking among us. As a fox lover I have been enchanted by this, as have many people. One night in March 1989 I watched one gambolling in nearby Alexandra Park. Many years later I encountered a cub in the street near my home and was able to walk up to it and touch its nose with the back of my hand. My ground floor neighbour - who died in August 2004 - used to feed them and told me that on at least one occasion, a fox came right into his bedroom. The same thing happened on February 6, only this time it was a child's bedroom, and the animal was not invited. The BBC has today reported on this horror story. Bromley - where this attack occurred and where I live - is the largest of London's boroughs, and perhaps has special problems with foxes.
Attacks by foxes on humans have been extremely few and far between, but they appear to be increasing. Before this current attack, the most serious by far was a June 2010 attack on nine month old twin girls in their North London home. On occasion, foxes have bitten adults too.
Most of these attacks have been in the London area to date, but clearly the same problems can arise elsewhere, and there is now serious talk of a controlled cull of foxes, something all fox lovers, including the dedicated Fox Website want to avoid.
The photograph below was taken less than half a mile from where I am sitting now, by fellow Sydenham dweller Chris Johnson on January 26 this year. It is an enchanting sight, one most of us are happy with, but if it is a toss up between kids and especially babies being attacked or enchanting wildlife at the bottom of our gardens, it is really no choice at all. Before there is any serious talk of a cull though, we need intelligent, informed debate on this issue.
A photograph taken by a dedicated Foxcam  January 26  2013.
A photograph taken by a dedicated Foxcam, January 26, 2013.
Chris Johnson
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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