In the fall of 2012, a research team at UPEI launched a website where the public could report their sightings of red foxes on Prince Edward Island. Today, the team behind upei.ca/redfox launches a new crowd-funding project to help fund the next stages of their research so that we can improve our understanding of one of PEI’s largest predators.
“A fox-sightings map gave us information regarding the distribution and relative abundance of foxes in Charlottetown, particularly during the fall. We have also collected anecdotal evidence regarding their behaviour, including the potential location of dens. All this information has helped us to identify the next steps of the project,” said Dr. Marina Silva-Opps, a terrestrial ecologist and associate professor of biology at UPEI. “For instance, we have used this information to identify sites for our study which will track the movement of foxes.”
The public can and are encouraged to continue reporting fox and den sightings at upei.ca/redfox. Once people have submitted their information, they’ll be encouraged to make a donation at upei.ca/donate. Donors of more than $10 will be given a tax receipt.
The data collected at upei.ca/redfox have been invaluable to the team, as they learn more about the population and distribution of red foxes on PEI.
“In the next phase of the project, we will use GPS collars to track foxes. We will also collect feces (or scat) to learn how they use and move through urban habitats,” said Dr. Silva-Opps. “We will also study where foxes live in urban areas.”
Dr. Silva-Opps’ team is hoping to raise $5,188. This money will help cover the wages for an undergraduate research student and for equipment to help monitor and photograph foxes in their urban habitat.
For more information, and to report a fox or den sighting, visit upei.ca/redfox. To follow along with the progress of the project, and to see photographs collected by our team and the public, “like” the project on Facebook. The page is at facebook.com/upeiurbanfoxproject