By Rose Barrett
A VIXEN known as the ‘Trinity Fox’ has found love to the delight of staff at the college.
Sam has kept staff at TCD enthralled since the first lockdown last year when she made the famous city centre campus her stomping ground.
Collie Ennis from Tallaght, Research Associate in Zoology, said they first spotted her in late February or early March.
He told Dublin Gazette: “She had been wandering the streets during the first lockdown but when the restrictions kicked in, there was little to scavenge as restaurants and cafes were closed.
“We think she was born around Merrion Square and moved down to the campus in search of food. She had mange and it can be fatal, causing a slow painful death.”
Kildare Animal Foundation provided medication to treat Sam and Collie managed to win her trust.
He said: “I’d become friendly with her so I left out a boiled egg with her anti-biotics in it, I rolled the egg to her, and she started eating it regularly. Within three weeks, she was recovering.
“We photographed and videoed her on Grafton Street. She became somewhat of a celebrity. Let me stress, we do not try to tame city foxes. They are urbanised and do not fear humans the way country foxes would.”
Over the winter Collie noted that “a big, handsome male fox” appeared on the scene. Staff named him Prince and he and Sam began courting.
Collie picks up the story: “That was until ‘Scar’ from Ringsend arrived. He is easy to recognise, with a scar over his eye. The males got into a week-long battle.
“They are so used to people, they ignored us and fought away. Prince won out and then Sam and her beau got passionate – and I do mean passionate, without taking the slightest bit of notice of we humans.”
Collie hopes to see the cubs arrive in the coming weeks and says vixens can have up to 12 in one litter.
He said: “We believe this is Sam’s first litter. Sam will den down somewhere. We’re keeping a close eye on her, and we’re hoping when she identifies her den, that we can insert a motion sensor wildlife camera so will be able to monitor her and the cubs’ development.”