Foxes at Sun Peaks show no fear; likely products of food conditioning - InfoNews

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Foxes at Sun Peaks show no fear; likely products of food conditioning

Local photographer Kim Anderson captured this shot of a fox strolling through the Sun Peaks village over the weekend.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Kim Anderson
January 15, 2018 - 7:30 PM

SUN PEAKS - It's an incredible sight that some people at Sun Peaks Resort have been able to witness recently — a fox, seemingly unbothered, strolling through the village.

But there's an underlying problem with a wild animal wandering through a highly populated area unfazed.

WildSafe B.C. provincial coordinator Frank Ritcey says although the creature is a sight to look at, it's a sign the animal has become accustomed to human interaction.

"Foxes are very quick to habituate to humans and they’re very quick to be food-conditioned as well," Ritcey says. "It is a real issue."

When humans feed wildlife, the animals become more comfortable around people and highly populated areas, he says. They also start expecting food from people.

"The foxes aren’t eating their natural food which isn’t good for them or their population," Ritcey says. "When you hear stories about a fox or coyote biting someone, if they’ve been food-conditioned they might nip at someone who doesn’t give them food."

It's the same concern Sun Peaks mayor Al Raine has. He believes there are at least a few foxes in the area, and one or two who are brave enough to roam the village.

He says the fox he's seen, which is mainly black, has been around the community for at least a few months.

"He’s quite bold and goes through the village and all through the community and underneath the lifts at night," Raine says. "I suspect someone’s been feeding him. That would be my only concern."

Raine says although the fox appears to pose no danger, it's concerning that someone could be feeding the animal.

He believes the residents in his community are well aware of the dangers of feeding wildlife, but fears visitors may not know that feeding these animals could pose a risk to themselves and to the creatures.

"Do not under any circumstances feed the fox," Raine says.

Raine says he thinks there are at least four foxes in the community, and like Ritcey, encourages people to avoid feeding wildlife.

"Best thing to do, don’t interact, don’t feed the animal, as soon as they see their food supply has dried up they’ll move on," Ritcey says. "That’s the critical thing is to make sure they’re not getting fed."

For more information about wildlife species, go here.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ashley Legassic or call 250-319-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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