Thousands of Foxes Over-Run London-Town:
The presence of foxes all over the globe has led to their appearance in popular culture far and wide. In urban America, the fox is seen as the James Dean of the animal kingdom, a loner whose sly intelligence is hidden in the shadows of the forest. In London, the fox’s romantic associations with Robin Hood or Aesop’s fables have long since faded: thousands of foxes have taken up residence in the gardens and doorways of London-town.

Long associated with Britain’s leafy countryside, foxes have become a common sight in this capital city. There are an estimated 10,000 foxes currently living in London, some very near the financial district, Buckingham Palace, and No. 10 Downing Street, the prime minister’s residence.

The creatures, which can trash gardens and leave a foul scent, make unwelcome, if persistent neighbors. Recently, a fox was blamed for ripping off the leg of a cat in St. Albans! Londoners are trying a plethora of inventive tactics to hoist the animals off their property, but this is no easy task. Some have spent thousands installing fences, but foxes can easily burrow under them. Others shoot water at the creatures when they approach or plant traps on their property in the hopes of protecting their pets and vegetable patches. Ultimately,

displacing the foxes from one yard means that they’ll probably end up in another, making this pest problem a hard one to solve.

The fox nuisance is stirring up a heated debate: what can and should be done to rid London of this destructive pest? Since the U.K. has a strong animal-rights tradition, this question is loaded with emotion.

All in all, the city of London is making due with this burgeoning pest-control dilemma. The question remains, which will prove most resilient: the British “stiff upper lip” or the fox’s cunning ability to evade capture?

All materials on this page by Julia Steiman