Rescued Gray Fox Goes Back to the Wild Thanks to Lindsay Wildlife
WALNUT CREEK, CALIF. —An orphaned gray fox brought to Lindsay in April was released in Orinda, the very hills where he was found!
A team from Lindsay Wildlife Rehabilitation Hospital released the fox Monday at dusk with approval from the family that found him near their home last spring. Lindsay hospital staff and volunteers treated the four-week-old gray fox after he was found crying for his mother, said Lindsay Wildlife Hospital Director of Veterinary Services Dr. Guthrum Purdin, DVM.
Just after a spring rain in April, the fox was observed running around for many hours, wet and alone, desperately calling for his family. The rescuers did all the right things before bringing him to Lindsay; they looked a long time for the den and stood quietly in the spot where he was found, watching and listening for other foxes.
“Such a small baby fox couldn’t possibly survive alone in the wild without his parents,” said Purdin. “I’m grateful someone found him and brought him to the wildlife hospital for care. It was his only chance for survival.”
Once at Lindsay the fox was treated for mild dehydration and then transferred to one of the hospital’s expert mammal homecare volunteers, Kathy Jones, who fed and cared for him.
The little fox was even given a bath because he enjoyed running through his food, said Jones who remembers him well.
“He was very thin so it was quite probable he had been without mom for a minimum of a few days,” she said. “He had a 25 percent increase in his body weight after just one week in my care!”
To make sure he did not become habituated to humans, Jones made sure to stay out of sight as much as possible and not handle the fox more than absolutely necessary. This way she could help ensure that he would one day be released. A day that has now arrived!
Lindsay Wildlife Experience worked with several organizations to coordinate the care and release of the gray fox. Fresno Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Service managed the final stage of rehabilitation, letting him live among other foxes and learning to be wild.
“Seeing this fox again under these circumstances is what I consider my ‘thank you’ from this animal,” Jones said. “Seeing it run away from me is a job well done by all that have worked so hard to give it a second chance.”
“Today, being able to see him back at full strength, grown-up and free in the wild has been absolutely thrilling. Days like today are why I do this work,” said Purdin.
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Lindsay Wildlife Experience is home to the nation’s first wildlife rehabilitation center and treats more than 5,500 animals each year. The organization is committed to its mission of connecting people with wildlife through education and rehabilitation.
Each year, Lindsay Wildlife Hospital treats about 20-25 gray foxes.