Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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As Human Population Expands, Wildlife Increasingly Relies on People Food

 Red Fox_MCR-212_2X0A9225.tiffRed Fox  /  Mike Roberts photo

A recent study reveals that wild mammals—even big predators—are getting portions of up to half of their diet from human leavings, crops, or smaller mammals that live near people. The study included wolves, mountain lions, bobcats, coyote, foxes, fishers, and martens across the country.

These wild animals are relying less and less on foods found naturally, as human population spreads and presents wildlife with domestic dietary alternatives. The outcome naturally puts wild creatures in conflict with one another, and leads to more human-carnivore encounters in territorial boundary areas and suburban backyards.

Reflections on Reynard

Red Fox_MCR-257_2X0A0750.tiffThe last frame of the day! Photographed in Yellowstone National Park by Mike Roberts with Canon EOS 5D Mark IV camera fitted with Canon 600mm lens. Tripod Head: Wimberly WH-200 (with quick release plate). Tripod: Gitzo Mountaineer (carbon fiber).
Click image for a larger view.

As a naturalist I’ve never considered anthropomorphism an appropriate concept. Yet, even in my mind, the red fox has long worn the mask of a humanistic villain. English literature and folklore is littered with fox personifications, as is Native American culture. With eyes that can stare into the depths of one’s soul, and those downright sneaky behavioral traits, Vulpes vulpes remains one of my favorite, but most difficult subjects to photograph in the wilds of America. So lay another seasoned chunk of oak on the andirons, pour a steaming cup of tea, pull up a chair, and allow me to share this paramount photography adventure.

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