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Foxes, chickens and ground squirrels

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Dear Editor:

People who raise chickens don’t like foxes because they raid chicken houses and kill chickens.

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I understand that. But trapping, shooting or poisoning foxes is not the best way to prevent chickens from being preyed upon by foxes.

White Hill in Carbondale used to support a lively fox population, which included at least one black fox. The foxes were not afraid of people walking by and provided much enjoyment watching them frolic in the area.

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Then suddenly they disappeared.

Now the ground squirrel population in the area is growing, as natural predators like foxes are no longer around to keep their numbers in check. Can it be that hard to fox-proof chicken coops by embedding fences in concrete to discourage foxes from digging under them? We have lost a wonderful member of our local fauna and I think it is time to start becoming aware of the effect of species destruction on the ecology of our area.

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Dingos of Australia were decimated by early settlers who wanted to stop predation of their sheep herds. Little did they realize the devastating effects this would have on rodent populations, which exploded and ruined their crops.

Perhaps a little education on how to manage wildlife would be appropriate to insure that we do not drive out species that give our area its charm. We cared about bald eagles; maybe it is time to start caring about preserving our local fox populations too.

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Fred Pulver
Carbondale

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