Hunt for foxes on Dutch island gains steam

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More hunters to head to Wadden islands to help eliminate the red foxes.

Vlieland – Mainland hunters will sail across to lend a hand to haunt the foxes that have been considering trouble on the Wadden Sea island of Vlieland.

The move to aid the small group of hunters on island comes after two red foxes (vulpes vulpes) were killed since they were first spotted in July.

"The group of hunters on the island is too small for a sustained hunt," the National Forestry Commission told the press. It will join forces with local authorities to set up tightly organised hunting parties.

The hunters have also been granted permission to use floodlights to chase the animals during the night has been approved. The lights can also help to momentarily stunt the predators.

The foxes have plundered thousands of nests in the breeding areas in and around the Kroon's Polders. They also appear to be extending their habitat to include built-up areas on the eastern part of the island.

Many Vlielanders continue to report sightings of foxes which are not native to the isolated island. It is believed that the animals were brought over from the mainland illegally. Police are still investigating the origins of the red foxes.

While the foxes are not likely to attack people, they breed another danger in the form of fox tapeworm. The parasite can cause a potentially fatal infection.

Tapeworm eggs end up in fox faeces and can be spread around gardens by various insects. Humans, in turn, contract the tapeworm by unwittingly eating its eggs -- from unwashed hands, vegetables or fruits.

Residents and visitors of Vlieland are therefore warned not to eat blueberries, blackberries and cranberries before washing them.

Radio Netherlands / Expatica

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