Hackney Council is still waiting to hear from animal rights activists before it can resolve an ongoing urban fox infestation in Clissold deer park. The beleaguered council was forced into a U-turn over its decision to start culling the urban foxes in the park, following pressure from a coalition of animal rights groups mobilised against it.
"Following public concern, Hackney Council has removed fox traps from Clissold Park deer enclosure temporarily while it widens the discussion on the subject," the council said in a statement. The groups united against the borough council include the RSPCA and the Fox Project.
Hackney Council initially decided to lay the traps principally because of the health dangers posed to deer by the growing urban fox population. It has explained that it has employed two members of expert staff to advise on the health of the deer and their management.
"It is these experts who have recently raised concerns about the deer due to the presence of the foxes in the deer enclosure and the rubbish they are bringing to it," the council said. It added that it had no intention of holding borough-wide cull of foxes, to which it said it was "strongly opposed".
A spokeswoman for the Borough told IBTimes UK that Hackney Council wished to hold meetings to resolve the issues "as soon as possible". However, as of yet there had been no indication from animal rights groups as to when the discussions would be held.
In the face of the expert advice the RSPCA has said "Foxes rarely interact with humans or deer," advocating that the foxes be allowed to leave the enclosure and then stopped from returning. If people are concerned about the number of foxes in the area we would suggest they use more humane, non-lethal deterrent methods to discourage these animals in the area. If foxes are coming into parks we would encourage people to make sure that there are no food sources available, particularly in terms of managing rubbish," it said in a statement.
Hackney Borough Council has said it empties the bins at Clissold park on a daily basis. On the advice from the RSPCA that the foxes be moved, the council said: "Trapping foxes and relocating or releasing them is contrary to government guidance and causes foxes extreme distress that could lead to a prolonged death. This includes moving them elsewhere in the park as this would place them in direct competition with other, highly-territorial foxes."
A spokeswoman for the RSPCA told IBTimes UK that she had not had any indication as to whether meetings with the council to resolve the problem would take place. However, the Royal Society has said it is happy to meet with the council to provide guidance.