Do Not Feed Ezo Red Foxes Living in Urban Areas
Ezo red foxes are frequently spotted in urban areas or parks in some large cities such as Sapporo. The main reasons the foxes have started coming into to developed areas are that the number of stray cats has decreased and the number of rats as a food source to foxes has increased.
Fox feces often contain a parasite called echinococcus. If this parasite is transmitted to humans, it can cause severe liver function disorder, with a risk of death in severe cases. Some experts recommend that fox-food containing antiparasitic agents should be dispersed throughout fox inhabited areas as a counter measure.
In Sapporo, the frequency of spotting foxes has increased, and foxes can be seen even at parks in the central part of Sapporo. The city government installed “Do Not Feed Foxes” signs to raise public awareness.
There are no population statistics available for foxes in Hokkaido, but it is believed that the number is definitely increasing.
According to a survey by the Hokkaido government, the infection rate of echinococcosis has been increasing yearly, and it reached 43% in 2018.
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