Future of rare fox found in Hong Kong uncertain as Ocean Park and animal rights group decline to take it in
Park cites incompatibility with policy, SPCA claims lack of expertise
The future home of the rare fox found trapped on a Lantau Island trail last month is up in the air as Ocean Park could not keep the animal permanently while an animal rights group declined to take stewardship citing a lack of knowledge and facilities.
The fluffy white creature was identified to be a red fox by specialists at Ocean Park after the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) transferred it there for care and quarantine two weeks ago.
In the latest twist, the SPCA said on Facebook on Wednesday night the park had to return the fox to the society. However, the SPCA said it could not shelter the fox as well.
“Genetic testing identified it as a red fox, which does not conform to the park’s animal acquisition policy,” its post read. “The park could no longer take care of the fox also due to manpower problems, and therefore needed to return the fox to us urgently.”
“Unfortunately we do not have any staff equipped with sufficient professional knowledge and experience to take care of the fox. Nor do we have suitable facilities to house it ourselves.”
The SPCA added it was negotiating with the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department.
But Ocean Park said it would keep the animal until further arrangements were determined.
“It was important to know the species of the fox before a discussion on its future could be had,” a park spokeswoman said. “It is not compatible with our Arctic foxes, and we will be working with the department and SPCA to determine the best way forward.”
The 1.5 ft-long white fox was initially cared for by the society after it was picked up by a pair of hikers from a water diversion channel on July 14.
The fox did not have any injuries but it appeared slight of frame and frightened.
The society at first suspected it could be a marble fox – a wild species that is not native to Hong Kong – and that someone might have brought it from abroad and kept it as a pet. The owner could have dumped it or it got lost somewhere.