The Yukon Wildlife Preserve wants you to run like, er, for a fox on Monday.
The preserve is hosting its third annual Run Wild Event this holiday Monday and this one is specifically for one of the reserve’s newest residents.
Organizers are hoping to raise money to build a habitat for an orphaned red fox that has been at the preserve the last few months.
“Our hope is to keep the fox here at the preserve, but current infrastructure doesn’t allow for that, so we need to build an enclosure,” said Lindsay Caskenette, the preserve’s visitor services administrator. “The enclosure costs about $20,000, so our goal is $10,000 and we’re hoping to raise that by the end of August.”
The red fox was found abandoned by a Marsh Lake resident during the Easter long weekend in April. The male fox was found at such a young age, people weren’t sure exactly what it was – if it was a dog or a fox or what.
The fox was first held in a bird pen in the aviary building at the preserve and is now in a bigger enclosure, but one that doesn’t allow viewing by visitors.
He will be making his first public appearance at the five-kilometre run or walk on Monday.
“On race day, the fox will be out on display,” said Caskenette. “So this is an added bonus for people to come out and actually meet and see the fox … He will be in the preserve, he will be visible, and hopefully it will lend to people wanting to donate and help with the cause.”
The $10,000 the reserve hopes to raise by the end of the month is for the building materials for the enclosure. Labour costs for construction is estimated at $5,000, but staff have decided to donate their time and build the enclosure themselves to save money. The remaining $5,000, which is also for building materials, will be supplied by the preserve.
“The long-term home we’re hoping (to build) will actually go beside our current Arctic fox enclosure, that will lend well to excellent interpretation value,” said Caskenette. “He’s obviously fairly habituated, so there’s a lot that can be done with him.”
“If we can build a suitable enclosure for him – a suitable home for him – that could mean we could acquire another red fox, so he can have a friend, create stimulus for,” she added. “Maybe we can get cross foxes or black foxes. The comparison of all those species is really invaluable.”
The fundraising run or walk will be held on the reserve’s five-kilometre loop with lots of animal viewing opportunities.
Registration is from 9:30 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. Monday morning.
Participants can pre-register at the preserve and can find registration forms, as well as pledge forms, on the reserve’s website and through Sport Yukon. The run begins at 10:30 a.m. The cost of the run varies from $7 to $15 depending on age.
The preserve, located on Takhini Hot Springs Road north of Whitehorse, sits on over 700 acres and currently houses 11 species of northern Canadian mammals. More information can be found at www.yukonwildlife.ca.
“I think in the run you might get a little distracted as well … because we also have a ton of babies,” said Caskenette. “A couple of them are a couple months old, but are still ridiculously cute.”
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