This little red fox was as calm as can be as he sat for his portrait. This is because he was hand-raised by the staff of Nebraska Wildlife Rehab (NWR) in Omaha, a group that saves injured and orphaned wildlife, with the goal of releasing animals back into nature.
This fox came in as part of a litter that was orphaned when the mother was caught in a leghold trap near her den (out of season by the way.) A farmer killed her and then realized the kits were nearby in a den and called NWR for help. Sadly, this is a common scenario.
The kits were about four weeks old when they came into human care and were bottle fed until they could eat on their own. They were then gradually weaned onto a natural diet which includes raw meat, whole dead prey (rabbits and mice), acorns, and a variety of fruits and vegetables, including greens. Red foxes have a diet that is about 30% plant matter, so NWR does their best to expose them to seasonal foods that they need to recognize in the wild. When the kits were about six months old, they were soft released (put into a large, naturally vegetated pen) onto a private nature preserve in Washington County, NE.
After a few weeks, the pen was opened, and the kits came out into what would be their new home in the wild. NWR continued to leave food out for the foxes for about six weeks post-release and spotted them several times during that period of support, looking happy and healthy. Hopes are high that this fox and all of his litter mates have thrived ever since.
Location: Lincoln, Nebraska
Photograph Date: 2010
Medium: Chromogenic Print
Available Sizes: 70cm to 150cm