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Orphaned fox in need of another fox around to survive in wild

CNN
Saturday, March 22, 2014 - 3:55pm

A rescued baby fox has won the hearts of her caretakers at the New England Wildlife Center in Massachusetts.

But they're being very protective and say she needs to find a sibling to survive.

"The cuteness factor is huge, but I have to back it into a little bit of reality. She came in with three dead puppies," said Dr. Greg Mertz of New England Wildlife Center.

The baby red fox arrived earlier this week alone and orphaned. Her mother was hit and killed by a car. An animal control officer from Brockton found the den nearby.

"There were four kits all together, and three of them were already dead. And she was in really rough shape. And so when she came to the door, she wasn't cute," said Dr. Mertz.

Dr. Mertz figures she's about a month old. By four months old, she should be out the door.

"We want these guys to get back out to the wild. It's a red fox. It belongs in the wild," said Mertz.

But right now, she also belongs with another fox, a surrogate sibling. And without one, the prognosis for her is bleak.

"For a singleton fox, what we really need is a twin. We need another baby fox in this, in this mix because then the two baby foxes will focus on one another," said Mertz.

The New England Wildlife Center is working with its animal network to identify other orphaned foxes.

"They need to learn how to behave. They need to learn what is they need to do to gather their food, to be protected," said Dr. Mertz.

And they can't learn those skills from humans, even though this face is hard to resist.

"Oh God, is this fox cute? Oh my goodness. She's so stinking cute," said Katrina Bergman.

But Katrina Bergman says her true love for wild animals is why her staff still keeps their distance.

"They're not going to cuddle it. They're going to do what they need to do to help that animal be wild," said Bergman.

If you're concerned about a baby wild animal experts say to leave it alone.

You could end up "creating" an orphan.

Most times, a parent is actually nearby or will return soon.  

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