posted April 20, 2013 11:24 AM
Cropper was found on the side of a road and rescued by The Fox Project in Turnbridge Wells. Seriously injured and ill (toxoplasmosis), he could not be returned to the wild. There were only two choices: euthanize Cropper or find him a home.
Mike Trowler gave Cropper a home. A retired engineer, Mike is fascinated by fox behavior and spends a great deal of time with them. In addition to nursing injured foxes back to health, he also takes in orphaned fox cubs and raises them until they can be released back into the wild. He does this by releasing them into his nine acre garden. A few remain to be fed each night, some stay in the area for several years, while others take off to establish their own territories further afield.
When Cropper was nursed back to health by Mike's patience, love and determination, Cropper became a member of Mike's family. Cropper would eat food from the dog's dish and curl up with the cats, but mostly, he would spend time with Mike. The two would even go for walks together and Mike would roll him over and give him belly rubs.
After six happy years with Mike, Cropper passed away in 2007. However, another fox, Jack, who had been suffering similar ailments, has moved in with Mike. Jack enjoys watching TV with Mike and even reluctantly tolerates a bath in the sink.
In addition to foxes, Mike is also friends with a couple of badgers. One of the badgers, a female he named Benji, eats from a bowl while he holds it and allow him to pet her.
Mike warns that rescuing foxes takes a great deal of patience and understanding, and a strong awareness of fox behavior. He says that fox urine is especially odorous and difficult to remove.
The Fox Project is a Wildlife Information Bureau and Fox Deterrence Consultancy that was established in 1991, they added a Wildlife Hospital in 1993. They admit and treat around 700 foxes and 250 cubs annually.