Staff at wildlife center don fox masks to feed orphaned cubs

Employees have developed a unique way of caring for abandoned baby foxes

Employees at a wildlife center in Virginia are dressing up as a mother fox to take care of orphaned cubs.

Not being able to find the real mother, staff are donning furry masks at the Richmond Wildlife Center to make sure the babies can survive on their own and recognise their own species.

In videos, viewers can see a human-sized fox with pointed ears feeding a tiny cub, which looks a lot like a newborn kitten.

The Center, which posted the video, said it took in the female kit, the term for a baby fox, when she weighed 80g and her eyes were still sealed.

The foxes were also given stuffed toys to lie with. Credit: Richmond Wildlife Center

“We want the first things she sees to be other foxes even if we don’t have any actual adult or siblings to put her with,” the center wrote in a Facebook post in early March.

They asked followers for donations so it could purchase items to help the kit, including a “fox head mask on our wishlist that we can wear so she doesn’t see a human face when feeding”.

“This is critically important if we are going to get her wild.

"We need these items ASAP as her eyes will be opening in the coming days,” the center wrote in the post."

Donors obliged, and the center provided a swift update.

"Many thanks to everyone who has supported the Red Fox Kit. She is progressing well.

"It's important to make sure that the orphans that are raised in captivity do not become imprinted upon or habituated to humans.

"To prevent that, we minimize human sounds, create visual barriers, reduce handling, reduce multiple transfers amongst different facilities, and wear masks for the species.

"We were able to locate fox kits of the same age and weight as ours and are working to determine what is in the best interest of the foxes.

"If they should be transferred to us, or if we should transfer ours to them. Either way, it's in the best interest of this Fox to get it with other foxes her own age.

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