Fox cub dies after eating rat poison in Great Yarmouth
PUBLISHED: 09:59 03 June 2014 | UPDATED: 12:13 03 June 2014
A starving fox cub suffered a painful death after being poisoned in Great Yarmouth.
Those who tried to rescue the baby vixen believe someone may have illegally put down rat poison in or around the town’s cemeteries, which are supposed to be a wildlife haven.
And while they cannot be sure where the six-week-old cub ingested the fatal dose, John and Tonia Garner, who Foxy Lodge Wildlife Centre in Hemsby, have warned the public to be extra careful.
The orphaned fox was taken to the Hemsby wildlife centre late last Friday night after a member of public saw her wandering around Great Yarmouth Cemeteries, close to the Northgate Hospital site.
“She was a little lethargic, but otherwise seemed to be quite healthy,” said John.
“When we gave her some water the next day, I thought that was a good sign.
“But within an hour, she become very poorly and started bleeding.
“Two hours later she was dead. It was an awful way to die - and a complete waste of a life.”
John said the starving vixen would have “gorged” herself on poison if she had come across it in the cemetery while searching for food.
It is not illegal to control rat populations, but traps and baits containing poison should not be accessible by any other animals or humans. Failing to minimise the risk of poisoning non-target wildlife is against the law as it could make its way into the food chain and kill protected species.
Urging people to be aware, John said: “We are concerned that dogs or cats could be killed too.
“There are strict guidelines on how and where poison can be put down for this very reason. A few weeks ago a six-year-old Labrador was poisoned in Winterton and had to be treated at the vets.
“While I disagree with poisoning, I understand that it happens. But it has to be done in a way that won’t cause such suffering. I just hope that this was an accident and it wasn’t laid deliberately to kill foxes.”
Foxy Lodge was set up by husband and wife John and Tonia at their Newport Road home in 2008; and the past few weeks have been among the busiest they have ever seen.
“The phone hasn’t stopped,” said John.
“Over the last week we’ve taken in a baby deer and we’ve probably had 25 animals come in the past fortnight.”
The charity, which tries to help all sick, injured, abandoned or orphaned wildlife and rehabilitate, rear and release them back into the wild, is not open to the public but is run with the help of 15 volunteers.
John believes the increase in calls for help is because the Seal and Bird Rescue Trust, near North Walsham, is currently at risk of closure and is not taking in any more animals.
If you find an injured or animal in distress, contact Foxy Lodge on 01493 384237 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Emergency calls can be taken up until 9pm.