Channel 4 carried out the biggest, most technologically advanced fox study ever conducted. Hidden cameras fitted into dens gave us new insights into fox behaviours - 24/7.
We tracked them with state of the art GPS tags, using inner-city CCTV and onboard Foxcams to examine their every move. The production team worked with ecologist Dawn Scott and Bryony Tolhurst at the University of Brighton to create the largest study of the urban fox to date. Dawn said at the beginning of the project...
"Urban fox populations are a topical and emotive issue that tends to arouse strongly opposing views, but our understanding of them is limited," says Dr Scott. "Are populations growing? Are foxes a threat to us or our pets? Are they vermin, or an important part of our urban environment, providing us with benefits of pest control and enriching our urban lives? The project attempts to address some of the questions concerning fox ecology in urban habitats and their potential interactions with humans and pets."
For the series we put the power in your hands - anyone who owned a smart-phone could become a potential wildlife photographer, fox-spotter. By harnessing the power of interactive Britain, we feel we revolutionised our understanding of foxes. Dawn said...
What can I do to help?
You can help us by reporting fox sightings, taking pictures, watching the live stream of the dens from the 30 April and by following GPS tracked foxes on our interactive map. We also want you to take the nationwide survey – the biggest fox survey of its kind. We'll be showing some of these sightings on our live TV shows at 8pm on Monday, 30 April, Monday, 7 May and Tuesday 8 May and Wednesday 9 May. There'll be switchover shows on More4 directly after the Channel4 shows on the 7, 8, 9 of May called More Foxes Live - watch out for them too.
Why all the fuss about foxes?
The last available estimate of the number of foxes living in British cities dates back to the 1980s. And most of what we know about urban fox behaviour is based on research carried out in just a few areas of Britain.
With recent press reports of foxes attacking pets and even children, public perceptions of the urban fox are changing. There is an urgent need to understand how this animal lives in our cities and to find out if we can coexist alongside them. This project gathered the biggest amount of data on the urban fox to date.