We have gray fox kits! Kestrel and Lark are the newest additions to Wolf Park. As you may already know from our last blog post and several social media blasts, these two boys seem to be settling in quite well. At this point in their lives, it is one of our top priorities to ensure that they are able to bond with humans. By bonding with their caregivers, they understand that the humans they will interact with at Wolf Park are trustworthy.
Our park values voluntary husbandry. This type of husbandry focuses on the comfort of the animal to ensure low-stress experiences. This can not be done if an animal is neophobic and considers humans as “new” or “unfamiliar”. While some of our animals have larger social circles than others **cough**Scarlette**cough**cough**, all of our animals enjoy the company of the special people in their lives. We want to provide this to Kestrel and Lark as they pave their way at Wolf Park.
But what’s a gray fox kit to do in a park of wolves? This is where Hunter comes in. Our resident adult gray fox Hunter is an expert at Wolf Park living! Hunter lost her siblings over the last couple of years. Research suggests that foxes tend to live in pairs. Further observation is suggesting that they actually live in trios. Fox Curator Kimber Hendrix and Kit Parent Christopher Lile can attest to this as they have both observed wild gray foxes raising kits in adult trios. So, although babies are fun, having kits was not solely for the fun.
Our hope is that Hunter and the boys will live together, but we need to take the necessary steps to ensure that they start on the right foot, or paw rather. We have been doing “soft” introductions – giving Hunter’s fur to the kits and giving blankets that smell like the kits to Hunter. Everything is going excellently thus far, as Hunter and the kits are always excited about these special deliveries. This helps them build up to face-to-face introductions.
The boys and Hunter are spending some time outside together, but just like anyone’s Aunt, she’s ready to give them back to their kit parents Christopher Lile and Megan Horning after she’s had enough. Kits can be very draining at a younger age, as is true with any baby. As they mature and have more experiences interacting with Hunter, they will learn the boundaries necessary to develop a healthy relationship.
We welcome you to join us for our Kit’s Debut Party Saturday, August 3rd from 1-5pm. They will be outside in their enclosure for the first time for the public to see! Photographer Monty Sloan has also provided our gift shop with their BABY PHOTOS! Get them while supplies last! If you would like to donate to the foxes, see our donation link below and type ‘Fox Donation’ in the notes:
If you can not make it to the Kit Debut Party, stay tuned for more updates by following us on social media.