Staff at Wildlife Center of Virginia Dress Up in Fox Outfit to Comfort Rescued Newborn

A Virginia wildlife center has taken an innovative approach to caring for a rescued baby red fox by having their staff wear fox masks during feedings. The Richmond Wildlife Center shared a heartwarming video of the center’s founder, Melissa Stanley, bottle-feeding the baby fox while donning a soft fox mask.

This unique method aims to recreate the mother’s experience between a mother fox and her kit, while also preventing imprinting – the process where animals form a strong bond with their caregiver. By wearing masks, the staff helps ensure that the orphaned fox kits raised in captivity do not become imprinted or habituated to humans.

The video showcases the adorable baby fox feeding on a bottle held by a staff member, clutching its own miniature stuffed fox toy. The wildlife center emphasized the importance of minimizing human sounds, creating visual barriers, reducing handling, and wearing masks to prevent imprinting on the species.

The newborn fox in the video, weighing only 80 grams, was discovered by the Richmond SPCA and brought to the wildlife center for care. Initially mistaken for a kitten, the baby fox was identified upon closer inspection, with its eyes closed and no teeth visible.

In addition to raising awareness about proper animal handling, the center highlighted the danger of rabies transmission, stressing the need for protective equipment when coming into contact with affected animals. This precaution is crucial for both the animal’s safety and that of the handler, reducing the risk of the animal needing to be euthanized for rabies testing.

Despite the low risk of rabies transmission from the fox kit, the center remains vigilant and aims to locate the kit’s mother. The heartwarming video has garnered nearly 1000 views, with viewers praising the center for its dedicated care of the fox kit.

Wearing masks while caring for newborn animals is not uncommon, as demonstrated by a zoo in China in 2022, where workers donned panda suits covered in bear excrement to minimize human contact with pandas.

Overall, the Virginia wildlife center’s initiative to wear fox masks while caring for the rescued baby fox showcases their commitment to providing appropriate care while safeguarding against imprinting and promoting awareness of rabies prevention.


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