An inspection report from London Zoo has revealed that 11 South African and rockhopper penguins were killed in a fox attack last year, according to The Daily Telegraph.
Keepers at the zoo, located in Regent’s Park, in north-west London, discovered the destruction when they arrived to open up for the day on March 18 last year. Other victims of foxes in the past three years include a flamingo, two South American mara, and a free-range chicken.
Damaged Fence At The Penguin Pool
“An investigation into that incident (of the penguins) established that the fence surrounding the penguin pool was damaged and not reported to ZSL (Zoological Society London), ” the report stated. The current penguin population at the zoo is 41.
The inquiry uncovered additional problems: enclosures were inadequate for the long-term keeping of tigers, low fencing could allow animals to escape into Regent’s Park, and snakes have escaped into public areas. The inspectors also found that there were “significant pest and vermin problems.”
Fox Attack On Baby Girls
The concern over the number of urban foxes in London was raised earlier this year, when there were reports that two baby girls were attacked by a fox in their home. According to The Daily Telegraph, over the past 70 years, Britain’s urban fox population has grown to more than 34,000 and they now account for 14% of the total number of foxes in Britain.
This is a sad story, which need never have happened. Obviously there’s a problem with fences if foxes are easily able to enter London Zoo. This would indicate inadequate management at the zoo and, if you’ve visited this 182-year-old zoo recently, you know that it is definitely in need of a facelift.
Urban Foxes On The Rise
However, there’s another reality, which is that the streets of London are increasingly littered with discarded food droppings and other trash that encourages foxes, as does the fact the trash bins are only collected twice a month in the city. It’s also true the fox, an animal with a killing instinct, has no natural predator in Britain and is thriving in cities.
But one last thought: don’t penguins belong at the south pole, not in London?
Creative Commons - Martin Pettitt