Foxes in Englishtown, Nova Scotia are being caught by inherently inhumane leg-hold traps and killed by a contractor following extensive feeding by people.
According to a CBC article, as many as five foxes by one account have been caught and killed in recent months and there are plans to kill more of the resident canines throughout winter. A Department of Lands and Forestry spokesperson told the CBC that the conflict – foxes being a ‘nuisance’ to area residents – stems largely from those waiting at the Cabot Trail ferry feeding foxes who approach vehicles. This teaches foxes that approaching people is a positive action that may result in food; it is literally the same way dogs are taught to come back to their owners.
However, trapping and killing foxes will not solve the problem of ‘nuisance’ behaviour because that’s not the root cause of it; if anything, it may create a new one by disrupting the social structures of the foxes and causing unforeseeable harm to the ecosystem.
There is a clear solution: enforcement and coexistence techniques. Foxes – just like dogs – are taught to behave a specific way because of food rewards. The same theory can teach them to avoid people or places by removing the reward and instigating hazing or aversion conditioning. By instigating such measures in conjunction with enforcement of available laws regarding feeding (or the creation of such laws with the intent to educate the public and enforce them), a long-term solution that is beneficial to all – not just residents frustrated by local wildlife.
Join The Fur-Bearers in calling for an immediate stop to trapping and a focus on coexistence and enforcement tools in Nova Scotia by using our form below. If you are having trouble please try using this link to open the form on Facebook.