Skip to content

Surprise birth of fox kits at Northern Lights Wildlife Shelter as season begins

Shelter getting ready for 2020 release of 36 bear cubs from last year under pandemic conditions

Angelika Langen and her team at Northern Lights Animal Shelter (NLWS) had an unusual surprise earlier this spring when a fox was brought into their care.

“We’ve had foxes before that were caught in traps, so that wasn’t new, but we had her for five days and we had posted that we were glad there was no signs of her having kits, she wasn’t nursing or anything,” said Langen. “And then we came in one morning and there were kits. Basically, she had aborted them, they were born too early and she wasn’t taking care of them. There were four but we lost one. The other three rallied and their eyes just opened, they are three weeks old and I think they will be fine.”

Once they are old enough to hunt on their own they will be released, likely late summer.

The mama fox is also improving.

PHOTOS: Ninth Annual (2019) Northern Lights Wildlife Shelter open house

“The wound was really bad, the bones were crushed. They were too damaged to mend so the bones did not reattach but the body is an amazing thing and formed scar tissue around it and the wound has totally closed and she’s using that foot. We have high hopes we can release her. If her recovery continues to go as it is, she can go free which she really wants to.”

Langen said, sadly, foxes get injured from traps often and sometimes those traps are set for foxes.

“People have a chicken coop and the fox comes in and takes the chicken and instead of making the coop safer, people set up traps. Especially this time of the year, it is a bad idea because they have young ones and they can’t survive and will die a horrible death without their parents taking care of them,” she said.

It has been a busy spring at NLWS. The number of animals coming in isn’t overly high, but the amount of care they need is more than usual.

The shelter received a bear cub from the Williams Lake area over the Easter long weekend that had been seen for three days without his mother. He came in malnourished and only weighing 2.2 kg.

“He was very emaciated and dehydrated,” said shelter owner Angelika Langen. “We had him at the vet for three days in a row for IV fluids to keep him alive because as soon as we tried to feed him he would throw up and have diarrhea which is very normal in any mammal when they have been that dehydrated and emaciated. When you are putting something in the stomach the system is not primed anymore to deal with it so it takes a while to get better and they can get worse from the vomited. So measures have to be taken to get them used to food again.”

But she said he is now doing better.

VIDEO: Smithers bear orphanage begins 2019 release program

“He was very close to death, he is not healthy and not totally out of the woods yet, but he’s eating on his own now and his digestion is good so we are hoping with time and TLC he will grow into a little playful cub.”

Meanwhile, all of the bear cubs from last year are now awake. All 36 will be released starting toward the end of May.

As usual, all of the bears will be released back into the wild from the area they came from.

But unlike previous years, the release will be done during a pandemic.

“I don’t know how travelling is,” said Langen. “We need to protect ourselves so we don’t catch something as we go across B.C. and I don’t know if hotels are open and most restaurants are closed. It will be an interesting trip.”

Some of the places they need to bring the bears back to include Castlegar, Cranbrook, and as far north as Telegraph Creek.

They will also be flying grizzles out of Kitimat in the beginning of June.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Marisca Bakker

About the Author: Marisca Bakker

Marisca was born and raised in Ontario and moved to Smithers almost ten years ago on a one-year contract.
Read more