Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Foxes surge into England's towns and cities

Researchers estimate there are 150,000 urban foxes in England, with Bournemouth having the highest concentration

Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff

Sunday 16 April 2017 17.26 BST Last modified on Sunday 16 April 2017 22.55 BST

The number of urban foxes in England has quadrupled in the past 20 years, according to a study that estimates there are nearly 150,000 in England, or about one for every 300 urban residents.

While the number of foxes is declining overall in the UK, the study by Brighton and Reading universities has found that Bournemouth tops the charts with the highest concentration of urban foxes in the UK at 23 per square kilometre.

London was not far behind with 18, followed by Bristol with 16 and Newcastle with 10.

The researchers, headed by the mammalian biologist Dawn Scott and the behavioural zoologist Phil Baker, tagged foxes with transmitters to track their interactions and territories, and asked residents from eight cities to report sightings during July and August from 2013 to 2015.
Scott said the abundance of suburban greenery may have led to the higher density in Bournemouth“Housing types and the suburban structure in Bournemouth might be slightly more suitable than the areas in London we surveyed to support higher fox numbers,” she said.

Through combining the sightings with models constructed from the tagging, they were able to make calculations of the density of foxes in towns and cities across the country.

It is thought there were only 33,000 foxes living in towns and cities during the 1990s, and a 2014 study found that 91% of urban areas previously predicted to support few or no foxes in the early 2000s now have them.


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