CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - The Missouri Department of Conservation helped a young red fox with litter wrapped around its leg.
According to MDC, Bruce Henry, the natural history biologist for the Southeast Region, responded to a call on Friday to a Cape Girardeau neighborhood. A den of foxes had settled in under someone's porch.
When he arrived, Henry and the residents found a young red fox, about six to eight weeks old, under a nearby bush with a plastic bag wrapped around one of its rear legs.
"The plastic bag had wrapped so tightly, it was wound like twine around that leg," he said.
Henry removed the bag from the leg and took the fox to an animal clinic for treatment.
"In this case the leg must be amputated," said Dr. Sean Byrd, a veterinarian at Skyview Animal Clinic. "Because of the nature of the injury, it will heal very quickly."
Dr. Byrd said the hard part for the fox will be rehabilitation. After surgery, the fox will be taken to Watkins Wildlife Rehab in Sedgewickville.
"We worry if it will be able to jump in order to catch its prey, because that's an essential motion that a fox must be capable of," Dr. Byrd said, adding that the young age of the fox is in the fox's favor, because it is still in the learning stage and it may be able to adapt.
"The chances of it being released back into the wild aren't great, but that's what we hope for," he said. "If not, it might be used as an education animal to serve as an example and educate people about the dangers of litter."
According to Bruce Henry, the Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center needs volunteers on Saturday, April 9 for a riverfront cleanup, which will directly help other local wildlife like the red fox.
The cleanup is from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Mississippi Riverfront in downtown Cape Girardeau, Cape Rock and Red Star Access. Another cleanup event is scheduled for Cape LaCroix Creek in Cape Girardeau on April 23 from 9 a.m. to noon.
For more information on the nature center, you can click here. To register to volunteer for cleanup efforts, you can call 573-290-5218.