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Video: Lira the fox cub rescued from near death by Wildlives, Colchester

PUBLISHED: 12:30 15 March 2014

Zoe Leckie with Lira the Fox Cub that has been brought into Wildlives rescue centre in Thorrington.

Zoe Leckie with Lira the Fox Cub that has been brought into Wildlives rescue centre in Thorrington.

A little fox cub which was found at death’s door near Colchester is now recovering at an animal shelter.

Staff at the Wildlives Rescue Centre in Thorrington are taking care of Lira, a week old female cub who had yet even to open her eyes when she was brought to them.

Lira was brought to Rosie Catford, the owner of Wildlives, by a man who had found her collapsed in his garden, freezing cold and all but dead.

The man took her to his local vets, who in turn directed him to the animal shelter. Lira’s mother is almost certainly dead, said Rosie, so it’s up to them to raise her and get her ready to be released back into the wild.

“She’s doing really well now, she only weighs just over 200 grams so she’s tiny and her eyes and ears are still closed,” said Rosie. Something probably happened to her mother so we are keeping an eye out for any siblings that might turn up.

“She’ll be the first of many over the summer. During the spring and summer they get themselves into trouble, the mother gets killed and the cubs are orphaned. It’s the start of baby season.”

Lira is on two-hourly feeds throughout the day and night. Her name is based on the current theme in the animal shelter. Each year the animals which are rescued and brought in are named according to a theme, be it famous families, pop singers or characters from Shakespeare plays. This year’s theme is Africa.

At such a young age fox cubs are unable to regulate their temperature, and although Lira has a fur coat she was unable to keep herself warm, as such she’s being kept in an incubator.

Lira will be released in the late summer. “We try to follow what would happen naturally, as she gets bigger and we get more cubs in she’ll be put with cubs of her own age,” said Rosie.

“Once she’s feeding on her own all human contact breaks off because the last thing we want is a fox that’s tame. When she’s old enough we put them on to soft release.”

However Lira is taking some time to get used to her new surroundings.

“She’s a little minx at the moment to feed,” said Rosie. “She’s not at all easy to feed but bear in mind she’s been used to snuggling up to her mum and hanging on to her nipple.

“Babies just tend to hang on and suckle when they want to, but we don’t have the time for that so they have to take their food now.”

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