About the Harmless Red Fox


By Mr. Richard Hoath

Before I begin this article I would like to quote from the New Campus page of the AUC website. The New Campus has been developed and, here goes, so that it “would achieve both harmony and diversity within a framework that unifies the essential components of a new university.” So far not too outlandish but six such components are listed including the “landscaping and gardens that embody the university’s commitment to environmental stewardship and extend the classroom into the natural world”.

So what has been the extent of this environmental stewardship? On campus, our environmental campus, a Red Fox was seen and photographed and rather than celebrate our stewardship, security was called and chased and harried the hapless creature across campus trying to get it into a box and then who knows what the animals fate might have been after, as the Caravan reported “scaring students and faculty, while managing to evade dozens of security guards sent to chase it down”.

What a ludicrous and high-handed response. The Red Fox Vulpes vulpes is an opportunistic and highly successful species that has enjoyed a natural expansion in range in Egypt since the 1980s probably due to the expansion of development, and hence availability of food and water, along the Red Sea coast, Sinai and the Nile Valley and Delta. Elsewhere in its vast range over Europe, Asia and North Africa, and America too if the North American Red Fox is considered the same species, it enjoys a tolerant relationship with its human hosts. In my native UK it is welcomed as a piece of wild in the urban sprawl, something to be celebrated. My uncle has a Red Fox burrow (properly called an earth) beneath his garden shed in suburban Bristol – indeed Bristol is home to the longest continuous study of urban Red Foxes in the world.

Red Foxes are not angels. They are natural predators and do raid poultry farms and smallholdings. But I would like to think that AUC is not a poultry farm and as we all know there is precious little food here. The grounds of our New Campus have (supposedly) been landscaped as naturally as possible and hence it should be no surprise that the natural fauna should be present. Red Foxes represent no greater health threat than the cats on the Old Campus. Indeed in the latest incident the only people at risk would have been the security personnel trying to stuff the fox in a box. To anyone concerned please visit  The Fox Website www.thefoxwebsite.org for unbiased and accurate information about the Red Fox in an urban context. In the mean time let us celebrate the natural world on campus and exercise this much vaunted “environmental stewardship”.


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