foxes toronto

Family of foxes is back living under Toronto boardwalk and people are worried

The red fox family that drew crowds last spring have claimed the Beaches boardwalk as their den once again, but for the love of god, leave them be.

The fox mama and her four previous kits garnered plenty of onlookers as residents flocked outside to enjoy the spring weather last April.

But the situation went from cute to tragic when one of the babies was killed. Its wounds suggesting it was attacked by a larger predator – most likely someone's dog.

The Toronto Wildlife Centre (TWC) posted to their Facebook this past week urging people not to go see the foxes this time around after a broadcast leaked their return to Woodbine Beach.

"With ineffectual barriers in place, we're concerned these events may happen again or worse, which will negatively impact the wellbeing of these baby animals and their parents," the TWC wrote on Thursday.

TWC volunteers took shifts every day last year in order to protect the foxes. This involved performing aversive conditioning like rushing at them and loudly stomping or clapping to retrain the foxes to fear and avoid people.

"Last year, people congregated (breaking COVID-19 safety regulations) around the baby foxes, got too close to take photos, fed them, and brought their dogs around them. Contrary to city by-laws, many of the dogs were off-leash. This caused the fox kits to become habituated to both people and pets, who are their natural predators," they wrote.

TWC volunteers eventually had to step away after receiving several violent threats from residents and visitors.

Despite this, they reached out to City Parks staff to offer help again this year. According to their latest post, however, that offer was refused without much explanation.

Once the fox family is safely gone for the season, TWC is calling for the City to implement permanent measures so that they cannot den in this high-traffic area again. 

In the meantime, stay away! It could save a baby fox's life. 

Lead photo by

Phil Marion

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