Saturday, 12 June 2021

Flowers and Foxes

If you have been reading my blog for a while, you know how much I love the palace grounds of my home town. Their official name is "Bl├╝hendes Barock", meaning "baroque in bloom" or "blooming baroque" - you will find both version on the official website with plenty of pictures and information in English, if you are interested.

For weeks and weeks now, the gates to the park only opened for those who had been either tested negative less than 24 hours ago, fully vaccined or officially recovered from a Covid infection not longer than half a year ago. Sounds complicated? It was, and it kept me from going there. There is still no vaccine in sight for me, and I can't be bothered to stand in the queue at one of the officially recognised testing centers just for a stroll in the park.

But on Wednesday, those restrictions fell, and you bet the first thing my sister and I did after work was to walk across town and finally enter our beloved palace grounds again!

There were hardly any other people about, just a few families with kids and one elderly lady who enthused to us about how beautiful it was and how much she enjoyed being able to come here again - just like us.








But someone else was about! My sister had read about this new resident at the park on our local paper's instagram presence. A young fox had been spotted a few times by lone visitors over the past few weeks. She had sent me the link to the picture on instagram, and I was hoping - but not really expecting - to encounter the fox, too.

And guess what - we did!! Bending a corner of one of the paths in the more overgrown part of the park, we saw a movement ahead: It was the fox! He or she was obviously not bothered by us, and walked so close to us before a family of children came up from the other end of the path and made him/her disappear into the shrubbery. 

Hopefully, the video my sister made works for you:
 

It was the closest I have ever come to a fox, and I won't ever forget it! 

My only worry is that, with more people having access to the park again, someone will either see him (or her) as a potential threat to their children or be upset about the fox killing a young duck or other wildlife in the park, complaining to the authorities and demanding the fox' removal. Or, even worse, someone will lay out poisoned food or harm him/her otherwise. Anyway, I just hope the fox will know better than to get any closer to the park's visitors! On the other hand, of course I also hope we will meet again - just without anyone else present (except for my sister and O.K.).



Update:

Minutes after I finished writing this post, I checked the online issue of our local paper and promptly found an article about the "Unwanted Guest". 

Apparently, it is not the first time a fox makes his or her way over to the palace grounds from the deer park on the other side of the very busy main road. And apparently, it is not the first time they take measures to get rid of them. The park manager is quoted in the article saying that the fox is going to be shot by the local game warden, of course at a time when the park is closed for visitors. They say the park is no place for foxes. Well, maybe not; but is shooting the best they can think of? How about setting a live trap and moving the fox to a place that is better suited to wildlife? 

My sister has already written to the paper, asking just that. Every now and then, a letter written by my Mum, my sister or myself has made it into print. We wonder whether it will happen this time, or what the general reaction to the article will be.

22 comments:

  1. I wouldn't feel comfortable coming that close to a fox. I think safely removing it back to its regular habitat would be best like you and your sister suggest. Children might think it is a pet, dogs could harm it if it was left in the park.

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    1. In the park, dogs have to be on a leash, and as far as we could tell, the fox made sure to keep away from children. He seemed not to be bothered by us because we were standing still and not talking, shouting or laughing, and at no time did it behave aggressive towards us in any way.
      Yes, fox problem can be solved without it costing the fox‘ life!

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  2. I can reassure Ellen regarding children and foxes.
    Mr. Fox will scarper if a child approaches him.
    I saw a man and his small child crouching down, facing a baby fox.
    The child made a sudden movement and the fox scooted back, a distance of 3 metres.
    What foxes often do is look back at us, after walking away in the other direction.
    What this means I have often wondered, since the human is no longer any threat.
    That backward glance of Mr. Fox always makes me smile.

    I enjoyed your video of the Palace Fox, Meike.
    Or should I say the Baroque Fox? Clearly he is a lover of great architecture.
    I was shocked to hear you say the game warden intends to shoot him.
    In England or Scotland a game warden who said such a thing would be in danger.
    Animal Rights activists would protest outside his home.
    The Palace Fox will bring more visitors to this exquisite parkland.
    Jack Haggerty aka Hamel(d)

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    1. Fox hunting has not been as widely popular among a certain set of people here in Germany as in the UK, and many would agree in that foxes can be something of a pest when they live too close to human quarters. Of course, it is the other way round and it is OUR species encroaching too much on THEIR territory, and foxes have as much right to be around as we do.
      The Stuttgart zoo, Wilhelma, has had a fox problem for years; they have made the areas where flamingos, penguins and other potential prey live fox-proof with electric wires that are only switched on after the visitors have left the park. Apparently, an estimated population of 5,000 foxes live in the Stuttgart city area. We humans leave far too much rubbish around, which is what attracts them in the first place.

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  3. How wonderful that you and your sister could once again visit the palace grounds! Your pictures from there are always beautiful. I loved the video and photo of the fox! We do not ever see foxes here although they do live in wooded areas. Bravo to your sister for writing that letter! They should be able to capture the fox and then release it in a more appropriate place. I hope they hear from many people and decide against shooting it.

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    1. Foxes have moved closer and closer to human settlements in the past 100 years or so - or should I say, we have more and more encroached on their habitat (see my reply to Jack Haggerty above). Personally, I have never seen one in my neighbourhood, but I am sure they are there, at least occasionally.
      I will keep you posted!

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  4. So happy you can finally spend time back on the palace grounds, especially now with everything in bloom.

    Hope they can find a method of humanely moving the fox to another location. When I used to leave for work at 4:30 am, I invariably saw my neighborhood fox when I pulled out of my driveway. I would wait for him to cross the road in front of me--he always seemed to be waiting for me. We have lots of wildlife in my neighborhood. My DH keeps a huge wood debris habitat (a large locust tree fell last year) area at the back of our property that is home to many rabbits and other creatures. Can't bring himself to cut it back or burn it.

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    1. It was so very, very beautiful, Mary! The scent was fantastic, too; we caught the gardens at their best, after a sprinkle of rain and late afternoon/early evening.

      Wow, leaving for work at 4:30 am - that does not sound like my kind of job!

      Very good of you to keep a special habitat for small animals at your property. It is what wildlife needs.

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  5. Foxes are beautiful. And misunderstood. Once upon a time, it was very early morning, I was standing in the conservatory, just about to go out into my then-garden (on slug and snail patrol) when I saw a fox at the bottom of the garden's vastness. Our cat (small) was about two meters away from it. Great, I thought, that's it. Carnage will ensue. Not so. The fox stood still, the cat stood still. They looked at each other. There was no stand-off. More like a "hello". The fox slinked off. The cat went chasing some poor unsuspecting mouse, frog or something to put at my feet later; a token of her affection and in case I needed feeding.

    Naturally, no one believed my tale of a fox in a suburban garden close to the coast. Till I caught him/her on camera. As you say, they have come into towns and inner cities but are harmless. If anything, at least here in England, they largely constitute road kill. It's upsetting to see those red furs by the wayside.

    Strange that in Germany, of all countries, they'd take to shooting a fox. As far as I am aware, correct me if I am wrong, bears have been introduced back in parts of the country. Whatever you do, Meike, if and when you meet a bear don't run or climb a tree.

    Little bear (Ursula) greetings,
    U

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    1. Your encounter with the fox sounds magical. And how typical that people won't believe you!

      While I am not aware of bears being re-introduced to Germany, wolves certainly are. And those regions of Germany who can boast of a small populaton of lynx pride themselves on that in every leaflet and every website about themselves (Bayrischer Wald, mainly, but also others).

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  6. A magical encounter. It astounds me that so many people seem to want foxes dead instead of marvelling at their presence. "SAVE THE FOX!" "SOLIDARITY WITH Bl├╝hendes Barock FOXES!" "DEATH TO THE FOX KILLERS!"

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    1. I am happy to report that for now, the fox is save. There was another article about it in our local paper; I will post about that soon.

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  7. I smell a fox! Isn't it funny how expressions pop into our minds? Glad you and your sister got to see the fox. Let's hope you can persuade those in charge to remove the fox rather than kill it.

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    1. Yes, expressions pop into our minds all the time - as do songs, something you know all about it :-)
      See my reply to Yorkshire Pudding for more "Fox News"!

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  8. Oh, I hope they don't hurt the fox!! I hope enough people complain that they reconsider. I can't imagine a fox being a danger to people, or to leashed pets.

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    1. Look at my reply to Neil, Jennifer. Looks like the manifold negative feedback they've had has helped.

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  9. Looks lovely. Thanks for sharing.

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  10. Such a happy and sad post. It is a great video. If a wild animal is a nuisance here, the Fish and Game department transport it somewhere. As far as I know, they kill only if it has attacked a person or if it seems like it has rabies. The transportations don't always work - a bear came back to where it was hundreds of miles away!

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    1. I have good news about the fox, see my reply to Yorkshire Pudding above, and my next post :-)

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  11. We have no foxes on the Island but in Glasgow they are everywhere and I have seen them in the garden of the friend with whom I stay.

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    1. Like many other species originally living in woodland, foxes have quickly caught on to the fact that where humans are, easy food is usually not far.

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