& Management / UK
Wildlife Casualty Management/ Techniques:
This information should be read in association with Wildlife Casualty Accommodation
which contains background information together with links to the Electronic Library and
Organisations (UK Contacts). The related Species pages contain similar linkages.
||This page has been prepared for the "UK
Wildlife: First Aid and Care" Wildpro module, and is designed for the
needs of the following species: Vulpes
vulpes - Red fox
- Carrying cage of heavy mesh, small gauge to reduce risk of tooth damage.
- Preferably with a crush facility.
- Towels should be provided within the cage for bedding.
- Cover any open sides with a cloth such as a towel or blanket.
Short term (Immediate/Emergency) Accommodation:
- Solid kennel with barred gate, e.g. a robust transport kennel such as a Vari Kennel.
- Newspaper may be used to line the cage.
- Towels should be provided for bedding.
- May be left within the container used for transportation.
Medium-term (Hospitalisation) Accommodation:
- Dim, quiet pen.
- Concrete, metal or similar materials are required, not wood.
- e.g. solid kennel with barred gate.
- Newspaper or sawdust may be used as bedding.
- Old logs may be provided for gnawing without tooth damage.
- Food and water bowls should be stainless steel and of a non-tip design.
are excellent climbers and escapologists therefore pen design should be escape proof.
stressed foxes may continually jump up at pen walls and scrape their nails until the nail
beds bleed. These individuals may be ready for release or require transfer to a long-term
type of accommodation.
- A plastic dustbin should be
offered as a hide within the pen for security and can also be used as an aid when catching
up the fox.
of the casualty without disturbance should be possible either via an observation window in
the door or a close-circuit television monitoring system.
Long-term (Rehabilitation and Permanent)
- Outdoor paddock with a perimeter fence of chain link netting, 2m high with overhang at
- Fence buried at least 0.3m and continuing inside enclosure for at least 1m.
perimeter of the fence should be checked for evidence of digging on a daily basis to
should contain adequate natural vegetation and ground cover.
is important that no agrochemicals are used within the paddock.
- Within the pen artificial
dens should be provided and and loose earth for digging.
can be thrown into the enclosure to stimulate foraging behaviour as the fox finds its
adult casualties should be housed in separate enclosures.
cubs hand reared in stable social groups should be group housed.
- As an example, an area 60-80 square metres may provide accommodation for a maximum of
- Ideally the pen should be situated at the intended release site, allowing a soft release
from the pen.(D28)
|Appropriate Use (?)
Medium-term (Hospitalisation) Accommodation is designed for the
short-term care of individual animals or groups of animals, particularly during treatment
- Short-term (Immediate / Emergency) Accommodation is designed to be used
for a short period of time only, e.g. prior to examination, to allow basic first-aid to be
carried out, while an animal requires intensive care, or while specialist accommodation is
- The most important requirements are warmth, quiet and dark or dim lighting.
Long-term (Rehabilitation and Permanent) Accommodation facilities for
wildlife are generally larger and more complex than accommodation designed only for
- Hospital accommodation is commonly constructed with hygiene and easy cleaning as the
main considerations, but the specific needs of the patients, including behavioural needs,
should also be considered.
If an animal is maintained in long-term care accommodation for a substantial period of
time, the animal must have some form of environmental enrichment to encourage natural
behaviours (possibly through food presentation techniques, cage furniture that encourages
activity, or play items that would be found in its native environment). This is to reduce
the risk of boredom as the animal becomes accustomed to its enclosure and the possible
development of behavioural problems. (V.w6)
- In general this type of accommodation is not suitable for animals which require daily
- A period in rehabilitation accommodation may be particularly important when an animal
has been hospitalised for some time.
- Rehabilitation accommodation may be used e.g. for group housing to avoid humanisation
prior to release
- Consider requirements for handling.
- Consider requirements for cleaning and provision of food and water.
- May urinate in water bowl - this should be checked frequently.
- Rehabilitation accommodation must allow discrete observation while animals are being
integrated into a group.
- Ideally rehabilitation pens should be situated at the intended release site, allowing a
soft release from the pen.(D28)
|Complications/ Limitations / Risk
- Foxes are highly destructive and may rapidly destroy wooden structures, allowing their
- Avoid use of wire mesh on which the canine teeth may be fractured during escape
|Equipment / Chemicals required and Suppliers
- Suitable pet-carriers should be available from good pet stores or animal equipment
- Most materials required for the construction of cages and rehabilitation
enclosures may be obtained from standard fencing or farm-equipment stores.
|Expertise level / Ease of Use
- Construction of longer-term accommodation requires some expertise.
- May be expensive the cost is generally proportional to the strength and
durability of construction materials used.
|Legal and Ethical Considerations
- Accommodation for casualty wild animals should be designed to minimise the stress on the
animal and to minimise the risk of injury to that animal.
- A wild animal in captivity is protected under the same welfare legislation as domestic
animals, e.g. Protection
of Animals Acts 1911-2000; under this legislation it is an offence to treat
a captive animal cruelly or to cause it unnecessary suffering.
- This includes an obligation to provide proper attention and care.
- The keeper has a duty to keep all wildlife casualties in a fit manner, in accommodation
of a size which allows reasonable movement and with an environment suitable for its normal
way of life.
- Accommodation which does not fulfil the physiological and psychological requirements of
the animal and results in an inadequate level of fitness at the time of release may
seriously compromise the survival ability of that animal. Release of an animal which is
unfit may be an offence under the Abandonment
of Animals Act 1960. (J35.147.w1,
- Risks to human health, both physical and risk of zoonotic illness must be minimised: Health
and Safety at Work, etc. Act 1974.
- An offence may be committed under article 14 of the Wildlife
and Countryside Act 1981 if a species on Schedule 9 of that Act, or a species
not ordinarily resident in the UK is allowed to escape from accommodation in which it is
- See: Legislation
relating to Wildlife Casualties.
||Becki Lawson and Suzanne Boardman