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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Ben Summer & Matt Atherton

Rare wild animal finally captured after public warned to stay away as it roamed UK streets

An abandoned rare 'silver fox' has been captured by experts after being spotted in a Welsh town. The creature, belonging to a captive-bred line of North American red foxes, had been seen roaming around Barry on April 8, 2023.

Black Foxes UK had received several reports of the animal out around the town. The RSPCA was limited in its capacity to assist and was ultimately unsuccessful in several attempts to capture the fox. Black Foxes UK contacted the local authority's animal warden and Sully-based Shua Trust Home and Sanctuary, whose volunteers managed to capture the fox on Monday, April 24.

The fox had been roaming Barry for just over two weeks and despite reports he had a leg injury, he appeared in good health. He was taken to Vets4Pets in Barry and named 'Shadow' by rescuers.

He's part of a line of 'silver foxes' brought to the UK from North America for the fur trade in the early 1900s. The North American red fox is a subspecies of the same type of red fox seen in Europe.

But the name is misleading as it also applies to black foxes like Shadow - although silver and black foxes still only represent between two and eight percent of North American red foxes, resulting in them being bred captively and targeted for their fur.

Silver foxes became popular pets in the UK in around 2006, when laws around exotic pets were relaxed, but Black Foxes UK doesn't advise this as they are difficult to keep and the organisation feels "strongly" that they should only be kept under strict conditions within education facilities and zoos, for their welfare and the welfare of local fox populations.

Black Foxes UK has found a secure place for Shadow to stay at Animals Interactive in Pontypool, reports WalesOnline. The organisation's experts believe there could be a second fox, the one with the reported injury, although this isn't fully clear. Anyone who sees this injured fox should contact the RSPCA's emergency line on 03001234999.

The founder of Black Foxes UK, Hayley de Ronde, wanted to thank the council's animal warden and the Shua team for "going above and beyond," having done the same in 2021 to rescue a silver fox. She added: "The team at Shua is small and their workload is heavy, so if you would like to say thank you to the team for their remarkable compassion and dedication, please consider donating to the organisation and showing your support!"

You can also donate to Black Foxes UK's funding website here.

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