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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 December 2007, 18:43 GMT
Orkney fox find sparks concerns
Dead fox found on Orkney
The fox was found dead next to the road
The discovery of a dead fox on Orkney has sparked concern among farmers and environmentalists.

The young male animal was found dead near the road by BBC Radio Orkney reporter David Gray.

Foxes have not existed in the area since the late Iron age with the only exception believed to be a failed attempt to introduce them in the 1930s.

The SSPCA said foxes on Orkney would be a disaster for farm animals, which have no natural predators, and wildlife.

The seven-month-old fox was found on the B962 Kirkwall to Holm road by Mr Gray on Wednesday morning.

He took the animal to local vet Heather Ramsay who said it had died after being hit by a car and was in surprisingly good condition.

"He's got a good amount of body fat cover," she said. "He's such an unusual animal to find here."

She added: "For a wild fox he's in very good condition."

'Could not cope'

It is thought the animal may have been kept as a pet.

Mr Gray said farmers are concerned about the discovery because if foxes are established in Orkney then they would have to drastically change their farming practises.

The fox has now been sent to the Scottish Agricultural College laboratory in Thurso for a post mortem examination.

They hope to discover exactly how it died and what it was eating to establish if it was a pet or a wild fox.

SSPCA officer Mike Lynch said foxes on Orkney would have a similar disastrous effect on ground-nesting bird populations as hedgehogs in the Western Isles.

"Whoever had this fox and it's escaped or been released, if there's anymore then I would like to know because they have to go," he said.

"They have to go back to the mainland. We just could not cope with foxes on Orkney."



SEE ALSO
Hedgehog removal scheme started
13 Apr 07 |  Highlands and Islands

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