The Fox Project does not receive financial support from national or local government. It relies entirely on donations form supporters, the general public and, for specific projects, from grant making trusts. There is no official membership for supporters, but a donation of at least £10, either by cash, cheque, card or standing order, guarantees you will receive newsletters, appeals and updates for a period of 12 months. Apart from a small range of sales goods, fundraising schemes include our Cub Adoption Scheme, A Day Out with the Foxes and an annual music festival entitled Rock with the Foxes. Information on these may be obtained from our Admin Office.
In addition to our permanent staff we operate a network of around 150 volunteers. These fall into several categories – Unit Partners, Local Rescuers, Fosterers, Rehabilitators and Fundraisers. If you find any of these interesting, please contact us by email or telephone for more information. If you prefer you can support us from a distance through regular donations by Standing Order, by response to our periodical newsletters or by clicking The Big Give button.
Unit Partners: these are folk who attend our main treatment unit near Tunbridge Wells, Kent on a weekly basis, covering one or two morning and/or evening shifts cleaning out cages, assisting with treatments etc..
Local Rescuers: our rescue cachment area is 70 x 60 miles wide and deep. We have one ambulance driver on per shift and, if they are a distance away from any emergency calls, they will contact the nearest local rescuer to contain the animal on the basis of faster response. They are kiited-out with a carry basket, a catch net and any other appropriate equipment.
Fosterers: from the beginning, we chose to avoid running the wildlife hospital as a single site operation. With anything up to 120 foxes in the system at any one time, it would not be best practice to place them in close proximity. They are territorial animals and, even in a temporarily captive situation, this would be stressful. On that basis, we opted, instead, to place foster pens on supporters’ properties, where an individual convalescent adult fox can recover in peace or a group of weaned juveniles can develop as a new, artificial litter prior to release. Fosterers are responsible for their own pens and the animals contained therein.
Rehabilitators: we successfully release scores of hand-raised fox cubs back to the wild every year. That success initially depends on our fosterers but ultimately there is a need for somewhere from whence the cubs may be released back into the wild. Suitable sites have to be rural or edge-of-suburbia and must be private. We are lucky enough to have several dozen enthusiastic farmers, smallholders and landowners who are prepared to assist with this vital aspect of our work. Without controlled, ‘soft’ rehabilitation, there would be little point in rescuing sick,injured and orphaned cubs in the first place, because they would have nowhere to go in the long term. Soft rehab is distinct from hard release, which simply involves turning helpless, inexperienced and unsupported animals loose in an environment in which they have no experience. Soft release sites are kitted-up with a temporary, secure release pen into which a group of five suitably ‘wilded-up’ cubs are placed. They are held in the pen for up to six weeks, fed and their pen cleaned-out daily by the rehabber, and this gives them time to get used to the sights, sounds and smells of the area whilst the wildlife around the pen gets used to them. Release coincides with the natural, annual dispersal of wild raised cubs from their family groups – usually at around four to five months of age, after which the rehabber continues to provide back-up feeding for so long as his or her cubs require it – seldom more than a few days, before they have begun to find natural prey and learned to hunt.
Fundraisers: basically what it says on the tin! We operate a system of local fundraising groups, each of which organises their own events or comes together with others for larger projects. Fundraising schemes will include street collections, supermarket customer check-out bag packing, information and sales stalls at local fetes, shows etc., pub quizzes, sponsored events, school no-uniform days, raffles – anything, really, and with the option to dress up in fox outfits sized for both adults and children!