Playing with Channel Is Foxes

Reblogged from Cindy Knoke.

Oh my! Somedays are just OH my days. I have seen about five foxes in my life, in Alaska, Canada, Wyoming and The Holler. I was on Santa Cruz Island before and saw the Channel Island foxes, a very unusual species that live only on the Channel Islands, no where else in the world, but I wasn’t really taking photos then. So back I went to see them again and try and get their photos. We hiked all over stunning Santa Cruz Island, and I firmly believe that since I was seeking, I didn’t find. It was an hour until the boat left…

Click on the link above to see and read more of this adventure.

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Sunday Story Time

Victoria zoos train Maremma bodyguards in bid to save bandicoots

Maremma dogs have protected a colony of little penguins and conservationists hope their next mission will be as successful

Cooper the Maremma gets acclimatised to bandicoots with a stuffed bandicoot toy. Photograph: Beate Sexton

Teams of highly trained dogs will be deployed as “bodyguards” for bandicoots threatened by feral cats and foxes, in an initiative which could help reverse the precipitous decline in several other Australian native species.

Zoos Victoria is to run an extensive trial to determine whether groups of Maremma dogs can become trusted allies to the eastern barred bandicoot, which has been virtually wiped out in Australia.

The small marsupial is extinct in the wild on mainland Australia, with a modest population remaining in Tasmania. A captive population of around 400 bandicoots is spread across four breeding sites in Australia.

Feral cats and foxes have preyed upon the bandicoots with disastrous results. Previous attempts to breed them in fenced areas have had limited success.

Eastern barred bandicoots. The creature is extinct in the wild on mainland Australia, with a modest population remaining in Tasmania. Photograph: Zoos Victoria

Zoos Victoria will take on a full-time dog trainer to work with seven Maremma puppies. The dogs, which like to work in pairs, will be sent to three different test sites in Victoria to see if they can effectively protect bandicoots without the need for fences. The spare Maremma puppy will be used by Zoos Victoria as a fundraising ambassador.

Maremma dogs, a type of sheepdog that originated in Italy, have been used for centuries to guard livestock. But they have also recently been used in more unusual conservation efforts.

In 2006, the dogs were introduced to Middle Island in Victoria, to help protect a colony of little penguins. Foxes had wreaked havoc on the island, reducing the 1,500-strong colony to less than 10 by killing swaths of the penguins.

However, the introduction of Oddball, a Maremma dog that previously guarded chickens, provided the penguins with some canine muscle. Oddball, who was later joined by other dogs, chased away the foxes and penguin numbers subsequently revived.

Maremma dogs are considered ideal for conservation work because they can bond to an array of other creatures while also viewing feral pests as mortal enemies. The dogs have formed friendships with sheep, goats, chickens and gannets in the past. In controlled experiments, sheep that heard dingo calls instinctively ran behind the dogs for protection.

Source: TheGuardian Read more see more

Sunday Story Time

Funtastic Mr Fox! Young cub has the time of its life sliding down quarry conveyor belt

A disused gravel quarry became a playground for a young fun-loving fox and his family.

This photograph, taken by British man Duncan Usher, shows how the clever four-month-old creature turned an old conveyor belt into a make-shift slide, before travelling down it twice.

Mr Usher photographed the amusing sight close to Bursfelde, a hamlet in the German countryside.

The sly-de fox: Appearing to enjoy himself, the cub, aged about four months, rides the quarry conveyor belt in Germany

The 56-year-old, who now lives in Bursfelde, said: ‘One morning I arrived at the quarry and saw from a distance two young foxes playing on the conveyor belt.

‘One ran back to the top of the conveyor belt and then started to walk back down it, stopped and sat down.

‘After a few seconds it started to slide down the conveyor belt using its front paws to drag it forwards.

‘They were attracted to the conveyor belt because it was a playground to them.

Source: MailOnLine Read more

My source: The Liberated Way

Sunday Story Time

Vixen out-foxes RSPB Saltholme wardens

Foxes eat a variety of foods, including seeds

Wardens in a Teesside nature reserve have been forced to install a special feeder for an acrobatic fox, to stop it stealing the birds’ food.

The vixen regularly jumps up, unhooks and carries off seed containers from the feeding stations at RSPB Saltholme.

To cut down losses of the expensive bird feeders, wardens have been filling water and juice bottles with seed.

These are targeted and removed by the vixen, which has cubs, and the others are left behind for the birds.

The assistant warden Dean Heward said: “People often don’t realise that foxes eat such a wide variety of food.

“Yes, they eat prey items such as voles, mice and birds, but they also eat brambles in the autumn, and are regular visitors to the feeding stations around the reserve where they munch on seeds.”

He added: “There’s really no point in trying to stop her from taking food from the feeding stations.

“Foxes are well known for being clever, so we put up ‘her’ feeder and she leaves the others behind for the birds.”

Source: BBCNews