5th May 2012
Television pictures from Foxes Live: Wild In The City last week were emotional. This wasn’t a fluffy, rose-tinted account of urban foxes, but a technology-enabled warts-and-all glimpse into the harsh realities of life (and death) of wildlife in our midst. It was gripping stuff.
The mangy vixen who had her cubs under a shed in suburbia moved me the most. Despite her shockingly bald appearance, this darling of the wild world was raising three young ‘uns with true mothers’ commitment and selfless dedication. Then, within the space of 24 hours, things went badly wrong. Her cubs degenerated and died. We were not the only viewers I bet with lumps in our throats as hidden cameras revealed how she tried to coax them back to health and even, touchingly, guided a flagging cub onto her own swollen, milky nipple.
Tragic yes, but brilliant also. A secret world revealed to the nation (well, anyone who was watching at the time). Turns out that our mangy vixen is an auntie. When her babies died she turned her attentions to helping raise another, healthy, litter to which she’s related. According to the experts this is quite normal in fox society. It’s just one of the ways that they’ve evolved to survive in a world where, despite the odds being stacked against them, foxes continue to thrive.
What unfolds remains unknown. I switch off nature programmes where kit and presenters become too high profile but anticipate that the foxes will remain centre stage. Good. We need an antidote to the cynical lies and propaganda which pass as science from the hunting brigade. As an aid to opening eyes, hearts and minds, Foxes Live: Wild In The City has got genuine potential. To catch the action tune in to Channel 4 this Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at 8pm or log in to the fully interactive website, http://foxes.channel4.com/foxes
Posted by Joe Hashman