Success! Foxes Saved From Railway Construction at London’s Paddington Station

A brand-new railway will open in London, England on December 18, 2018. The Elizabeth line, designed by Crossrail, will eventually stretch more than 60 miles from Reading and Heathrow Airport in the west, running underground through central London tunnels and then overground to Abbey Wood in the east.

One of the largest construction sites is Paddington, in the center of London. In addition to the installation of a new underground station, the entire building is undergoing its most significant upgrade since it was first opened in 1853.

While many people are excited at the idea of a new transit link to significantly reduce travel time, a major challenge has emerged at the Paddington site: the arrival of foxes.

When foxes first appeared at the construction site, owned by Costain/Shanska, reports alleged that these gentle creatures were being trapped and shot. 

Annette A. was outraged when she read of this cruelty, so she started a Care2 petition demanding that the company seek out humane ways to deal with the foxes — and stop the killing. Annette explained:

Workers there have allegedly been extremely upset by the situation where as well as being shocked by the indiscriminate killing, they saw a cub in a trap. Locals have also allegedly reported concerns.

Thousands of Care2 members agreed with Annette, and her Care2 petition quickly garnered over 34,000 signatures.

A Win for Wildlife

After so many wildlife advocates expressed their revulsion at these killings, Costain/Skanska agreed to hire “Fox-A-Gon,” a non-lethal pest controller who will work with the company to relocate the foxes without causing them any physical harm.

Care2 added to the public pressure, thanks to Annette A.’s thoughtful petition – and everyone who signed on to support her effort.

Many members left comments — like this one, from Sue B.:

Please stop this cruelty…surely these lovely foxes can be encouraged to move on and taken to open country elsewhere. Why kill them? Please stop this slaughter of innocent animals.

And this note from Helen J.:

As an animal lover and also a train enthusiast, I wish to completely disassociate myself from this appalling practice.

Fox Conservation

This isn’t the first time a Care2 petition has prevented the killing of foxes in the U.K. Last year, this petition ensured that Sainsbury’s would use only humane deterrence methods at their Crayford, Kent, superstore. And in 2016, a Care2 petition persuaded the owners of Moseley Golf Club in Birmingham not to shoot the foxes on their property.

London has the second highest number of urban foxes in England, and the city has seen several cull attempts in the past.

According to a study conducted last year, the overall number of foxes in the UK is declining, but the urban fox population has jumped from around 33,000 during the 1990s to nearly 150,000 in 2017.

As more development occurs in rural areas, foxes are increasingly driven out of the countryside. Ian Tokelove, a spokesman for the London Wildlife Trust, explained:

They have a pretty hard time out in the countryside and in places like London they can find a lot of the food they require and the habitats they need. There’s lot of worms in our gardens and they’re particularly partial to London’s rats and mice.

And as Fox-A-Gon states, “The fox is sometimes referred to as vermin, but it is not, and never has been categorized as such by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).”

The company assures the public that “By drawing on knowledge of the species and its behavior and by using non-harmful methods of deterrence, the nuisance being suffered can be prevented or, at the very least, significantly reduced, without killing foxes.”

Surely, if we humans are driving these animals from their homes, we cannot then turn them into culprits and attack them. 

Once again, we see that Care2 petitions can have an enormous impact. So if there’s an issue of deep concern to you, why not start your own petition? You can use these guidelines to get started and soon the Care2 community will be signing up to support you. 

 

Photo Credit: Scott Walsh/Unsplash

99 comments

Michael Friedmann

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John W
John W7 days ago

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Michael F

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Ruth R
Ruth R10 days ago

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John W
John W15 days ago

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Carl R
Carl R16 days ago

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Carl R
Carl R16 days ago

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Marija M
Marija M16 days ago

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John W
John W16 days ago

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Leo C
Leo C17 days ago

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