The presence of a fox at a Safestore self-storage property in Wimbledon, England, has created tension between the business and local animal lovers after word spread that the facility operator was planning to have the fox shot today by a pest-control company. Safestore has denied any intent to kill the animal and issued a statement saying it wanted to trap and relocate it, according to the source. The fox, named Cyril by locals, has reportedly lived on the property at Gap Road for several months.
"Our primary goal is to ensure Cyril the fox is safely away from harm, not trapped in our store, and get his health checked over by The Fox Project. We then plan to return him to his natural habitat nearby,” Safestore officials said in a statement. "Thank you to South Norwood Animal Rescue and Liberty (SNARL) who have been advising us and assisting us by attracting Cyril into a safe box so he can be taken to The Fox Project without stress or harm."
Tony Jenkins, co-founder and director of SNARL, tried to trap the fox yesterday and is skeptical of Safestore’s intentions. “I think they are backtracking,” he told the source. “They are now saying the pest controller is coming but only to advise them on how to deal with the situation. That could be done over the phone, so I think that’s wrong.”
Jenkins described the fox as “very, very friendly. He’s not doing any harm. He seems to like their site.”
Mistrust appears to have been created because an employee at the Safestore location reportedly denied knowing the fox was on the property until someone called the facility today asking about it. “It’s all news to us,” the employee told the source. “We don’t know what it’s about. Safestore definitely doesn’t have a nuisance fox.”
Safestore has received several inquiries about the fox and its intentions via social media and has been releasing responses and updates on the situation via Facebook and Twitter. The company’s last tweet was several hours ago: “@NaD_jilali @SNARLLondon he is in very good hands and will be treated with the utmost care - we will continue to update our progress!”
A previous update via Twitter indicated The Fox Project, a charity rescue and rehabilitation group, would check the health of the fox once it is trapped to determine if it needs treatment or can be released quickly back into the wild.
Safestore Holdings PLC operates 131 self-storage facilities, including 95 facilities it owns in the U.K. and 24 in France. Its wholly owned properties comprise more than 5 million square feet of storage space, while its entire portfolio serves approximately 49,000 customers.