Fawkes tempted death but there are hopes that, like his namesake, he will rise and enjoy a new life.
Fawkes – named after the phoenix in the Harry Potter tales – is now a fox in the care of the Cobequid Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre (CWRC).
“He came in with his sibling and they both had mange and were malnourished,” said Dr. Jessica Rock, a veterinarian who volunteers at the CWRC. “The expression ‘skin and bones’ comes to mind. They had a lot of hair loss, thick crusting on their legs, feet and faces, and mild eye infections.”
The centre was contacted when a homeowner in rural Colchester County discovered two fox kits had been left on their own and their condition was deteriorating. With help from NS Department of Lands and Forestry and the community, the animals were captured Aug. 29.
Mange, which is caused by parasitic mites, results in extreme itchiness and affected animals chew at their skin and break off hair. As it progresses, there are cracks in the skin and it becomes so painful they don’t want to move much.
"That means they’d be going to feed less than if they were healthier,” said Rock.
“It’s typical for wild animal parents to invest energy in offspring they feel will have a high chance of survival. I suspect the mother left these two because she was trying to give the other kits a better chance.”
Although the kits were treated with antibiotics, infection had gone into the female’s skin and she couldn’t be saved.
“The male is doing better all the time, but he’ll need treatment for a while yet,” said Rock.
“We have treated wildlife for mange before. It’s always around but rates vary, depending on the year. We see it more in porcupines. Because of their quills, they can’t shed the crust and can become entombed and unable to move.”
The centre has had foxes in its care before, most often young ones whose mother was hit by a car.
“They require quite a bit more work than some animals,” said Rock. “When you’re doing something with them you have to have at least two people to make sure all are safe, including the fox. We have to work as safely and efficiently as possible to reduce stress, and they need puzzles and games to stimulate their brains.”
Fawkes also needs to gain muscle mass and fat and regrow his coat.
Because he’ll need to stay at the CWRC until spring an online fundraiser has been launched to help with his care. Anyone wishing to make a donation to help Fawkes can do so through the CWRC or on CanadaHelps.org.
The 11th annual Wildlife Benefit Concert for the Cobequid Wildlife Rehabilitation Society is being held Saturday, Oct. 5
The event is being hosted by comedian MJ Miller and includes live music by Nowhere Road. There will also be a silent auction, 50-50, prizes and lots of fun.
Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at Central Nova Animal Hospital, Pet Valu, MacQuarries Esplanade location, by calling 902-893-0253, or at the door.