Grand Teton National Park Euthanizes Fox After Reports of Human Feeding

in News/wildlife

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Grand Teton National Park officials have euthanized a fox involved in an incident in which a photography crew was accused of feeding wildlife in the park.

The fox had been targeted to be euthanized some months ago, but was captured after the wildlife feeding allegation which is now being investigated by the park.

“The investigation is ongoing, no updates at this time,” park spokeswoman Denise Germann told Cowboy State Daily on Thursday.

According to the Jackson Hole News&Guide, a photography crew led by British fine art photographer David Yarrow was spotted allegedly feeding foxes in the Colter Bay area of the park. Feeding park wildlife is illegal.

Yarrow denied the allegations, saying that the crew might have thrown snow near the foxes, but they weren’t feeding the animals. He said he was at Jackson Lake for an unrelated photo shoot and the appearance of the foxes was a coincidence.

“The last thing on my mind was to photograph a fox,” Yarrow told the paper. “It’s not what I’m interested in.”

A petition to ban Yarrow from all national parks began circulating through social media this week, gaining a little more than 2,400 signatures as of Thursday afternoon.

A fox was euthanized earlier this week following the Yarrow incident.

Germann said that the fox was already “highly food-conditioned and habituated,” but had been involved with the photography crew incident.

“This fox has been involved in several incidents over the last year and was identified to be euthanized,” she said.

According to the newspaper, the red fox was a research animal known as 15M that had worn a tracking collar since 2018 and had a blue tag on its left ear and a green one on its right ear.

Fox 15M ate normal foods like ground squirrels and stayed out of trouble the first couple years it was on biologists’ radar but became dangerously habituated to people last summer, park officials said.

There had been plans to euthanize the fox since last summer, but he proved elusive until this week.

Feeding park wildlife could lead to the death of an animal or injury to park visitors.

Park visitors are reminded to maintain a minimum viewing distance of 25 yards from most wildlife and 100 yards from wolves and bears.   

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