The Toronto Wildlife Centre is asking everyone to practice physical distancing around the red fox families spotted in The Beaches.
Last month, the City of Toronto asked the public to do the same, after photos and video of the fox fam were shared online.
The City had set up barricades and warning signs around the family to protect them, but the Wildlife Centre said they have been removed, and people gather to feed the babies.
“Foxes have adapted well to surviving in urban environments, and some have no choice but to make their dens in areas frequented by people. Although they’re a wonder to watch, especially to see fox kits playing, keeping your distance from them is crucial,” said the Toronto Wildlife Centre.
“Individuals have been spotted hand-feeding the babies and gathering too closely when taking photos, which puts the kits at risk of becoming habituated to humans and stresses the fox parents who are unable to reach and bring food to their young through the crowd of people.”
They warn that feeding the babies is a “huge danger for them and will negatively affect their development into normal adults.”
Fox can thrive living in the city, but only if they’re left alone, according to the Wildlife Centre.
“We are currently working with the city to get new barricades back around the den, but the public needs to know to leave this family be,” they said.
The City of Toronto is also asking the public to keep dogs on leashes.
We are aware of the fox and her puppies in the east end. Do not gather and stay in the area to watch the fox family. Never touch wildlife or pick up their young. Keep your dogs on leashes.
— City of Toronto (@cityoftoronto) May 4, 2020
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Over the course of the last several weeks, Torontonians have taken to social media to report several wild animal sightings.
According to city officials, the increase in spottings can likely be attributed to both warmer weather, and fewer people in places that are normally crowded as the community continues to self-isolate.
Now, the message from the city is clear — if you happen to catch a glimpse of a wild animal while you’re out getting fresh air, they deserve the same treatment as anyone else you come across — respect social distancing.
With files from Kayla Gladysz.