Are You My Mother? | God's World News
Are You My Mother?
News Shorts
Posted: March 18, 2024
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    Melissa Stanley wears a fox mask as she feeds an orphaned red fox kit on March 10, 2024, in Richmond, Virginia. Ms. Stanley says the mask helps prevent animals from imprinting on humans. (Richmond Wildlife Center via AP)
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    A mother fox stands with her kits near their den in Erie, Colorado. Wildlife workers hope that the kit at the Richmond Wildlife Center will be able to return to the wild. (AP/Peter M. Fredin)
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Workers at the Richmond Wildlife Center in Virginia are doing their best to act like mother foxes. They feed and care for an orphaned baby fox.

Melissa Stanley wears a red fox mask and rubber gloves while feeding the tiny kit with a syringe. The kit sits on top of a large stuffed animal fox that is meant to look like her mother.

Staff members wear the mask to feed the baby. They keep her from seeing humans. They are also minimizing human sounds. Why? They hope that the kit can return to the wild someday.

“As her eyes unseal, and she opens her eyes for the first time, we don’t want the first thing for her to see in this world to be a human,” Ms. Stanley told NPR. That’s because the baby fox could imprint on that person.

When a baby animal imprints, it becomes attached to another creature. It follows that creature around, learning how to behave. Most of the time, a baby imprints on its mother. God gave this way of learning to many types of animals He made, including ducks and zebras.

Associating food and care with people isn’t good for wild foxes. The kit wouldn’t learn the normal fox behavior she needs to survive in the wild. And fear of humans is good for wild animals. Without it, a fox would be more likely to be hit by a car or caught in a trap.

A man found the baby fox in an alley in Richmond. He thought she was a kitten. So he took her to an animal shelter on February 29. She was less than 24 hours old.

Wildlife center staff tried to find the kit’s mother. They found her den, but the foxes had been trapped and removed. Ms. Stanley suspects the kit fell out of a trap or off the back of the trapper’s truck.

Center workers immediately began looking for other rescued red fox babies of the same age. The Animal Education and Rescue Organization (AERO) in northern Virginia is already caring for several kits. This baby will go live with them. “She’ll be able to begin to play and cuddle and smell all the fox smells,” says Ms. Stanley. AERO plans to eventually release the foxes back into the wild together.

The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the Earth and upon every bird of the heavens, upon everything that creeps on the ground and all the fish of the sea. Into your hand they are delivered. — Genesis 9:2