Red muzzle and orange flash: the fox trapped by the melting ice in the Old Port of Montreal for ten days made the team who tried to rescue him see all the colors on Sunday afternoon .
The canine was expected all day Sunday, lurking under the King-Edward wharf, where the Montreal Science Center is located. Around 4:45 p.m., he poked his nose out of his hiding place and then rushed onto the ice. A dozen rescuers, armed with nets, tried to catch him in a panting race, but the fox won the round. The animal took refuge under a floating dock, halfway to the Jacques-Cartier dock. The rescue operation continued throughout the evening, without success.
It has been ten days since this fox was seen on the ice, between the Jacques-Cartier wharf and the King-Edward wharf. “Our hypothesis is that he crossed on the ice from the Dieppe park,” explains Isabelle Vachon-Girard, deputy director general of Sauvetage Animal Rescue, the private organization responsible for the rescue operation. Dieppe Park is a small strip of land located on the St. Lawrence River, across from the Old Port.
The ice has since melted on this part of the river, preventing the fox from retracing its steps. According to the organization, it could be an inexperienced fox, or even a vixen who has had babies. Indeed, in theory, the animal should be able to swim back to where it came from, specifies Mme Vachon Girard. “If he doesn’t want to leave, it’s because he may have injuries,” she underlines.
On this gray and rainy Sunday, the volunteer team of Sauvetage Animal Rescue had been on the scene since 10 a.m. in the morning. Twenty people took part in the operation. Some of them, with nets, had to try to catch the fox running. A boat was sailing at the edge of the ice, in case the animal, seized with panic, tried to jump into the water to escape. A veterinarian was also on hand to make an assessment after his capture.
During the evening, the team discovered the place where the fox hides its food, under the King-Edward wharf. “Our operations team is still working on a strategy to get him out of there,” Rescue Animal Rescue posted on Facebook Sunday evening. The operation is expected to resume on Monday.
In the previous days, the team had tried to capture the animal in a “soft” way by luring it into a cage with meat and even rabbit urine. Wasted effort. “All the conditions were there to lure him,” remarks Mme Vachon Girard. The team believes the fox was still able to hunt. The melting of the ice, coupled with the rain of the last few days, however, makes the hunting ground increasingly difficult for the animal. So it was time, she says, to switch to a so-called “dynamic” capture method.
Another fear: that visitors to the Old Port of Montreal will see the fox in danger, on the ice, and try to help him. “For the health of the animal and given the civil security issues, argues Mme Vachon-Girard, we believe that our operation is justified. »