A fox trying to get some sleep on an abandoned mattress in a disused Bournemouth garden. Must credit Blue Planet Society @Seasaver

A fox trying to get some sleep on an abandoned mattress in a disused Bournemouth garden. Must credit Blue Planet Society @Seasaver

LITTER blamed on young people is in fact often caused by foxes and pigeons, a Bournemouth councillor has claimed.

Cllr Michael Weinhonig made the assertion after asking the Environment and Transport Overview Scrutiny Panel what could be done to “deter the influx” of the urban animals.

The Strouden Park ward councillor, who said he was raising the subject after conversations with residents, asked if an article could be included on the subject in the council’s magazine, BH Life.

“We should perhaps educate residents not to feed them and also encourage other environmental measures for the natural environment of hedgehogs and other wildlife,” said Cllr Weinhonig.

Cllr David Smith, cabinet member for environment, responded that foxes “cannot really be controlled”, explaining that their territorial nature means when they are killed others from neighbouring areas always take their place.

He added that the problem of pigeons “has been going on for some years in this town”.

Cllr Smith cited the decline of pigeons in London’s Trafalgar Square as an example of how “robust” measures can help reduce numbers.

Cllr Weinhonig, however, said he would like the matter to be “taken more seriously”.

“If you were to starve [the foxes] out they are not going to come back to that territory,” he said.

“Take the litter element for example – there are bins where pigeons and foxes are diving in and creating litter – which is often attributed to young people and I think there can be something done.”

Cllr Smith told Cllr Weinhonig he did take the matter seriously and would liaise with the authority’s pest control officer to look for a solution.

After the meeting, Cllr Weinhonig told the Daily Echo he was not calling for a cull of foxes and pigeons. He said he was calling for more education, in particular to encourage residents not to feed the animals.

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There are only two legal methods to dispose of foxes – shooting and cage trapping in combination with a lethal injection.

Hackney council in London was recently forced to scrap an urban fox cull – which would have been the first in 30 years – after pressure from animal rights activists.


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