Ocean Park has promised to continue taking care of a stray fox that was found on Lantau Island two weeks ago until it is decided what’s best for the animal, news website hk01.com reports.
The small and fluffy fox, measuring less than 2 feet in length, was found in a water diversion channel near the Lantau Trail by two hikers on July 14 before it was sent to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), which then transferred it to the park for care and quarantine.
The SPCA said in an online post on Wednesday that a genetic test conducted by the park has identified the animal as a red fox, not a marble fox as originally suspected.
As such, the animal does not conform with the park’s animal acquisition policy. Besides, the park does not have the manpower to take care of the fox and has to return it to the SPCA, according to the post.
The SPCA said it was negotiating with the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) on what to do with the animal as it also does not have staff with sufficient expertise and experience nor suitable facilities to take care of it.
The park later pledged to keep the fox until further arrangements were made. It said it was important to know the exact species of the fox, adding that it was coordinating with the AFCD and SPCA to determine the best way to deal with it.
According to the AFCD, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) lists three subspecies of red foxes that do not require licenses to possess but, for import, require the production of a CITES permit and inspection by an authorized officer upon the landing of the specimen, and require a license issued by the AFCD for re-export.
The department said it has never issued a license for re-export for this species.
The SPCA called on the public not to import or raise foreign wild animals not only because they might not fit in with the local environment but also because they are likely to threaten the survival of other local species as well as spread diseases, Apple Daily reported.
It is suspected that someone had brought the fox from overseas to turn it into a pet but later abandoned it.
The SPCA urged the government to step up regulations to prevent similar cases from happening again.
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