Sometimes you’re at the right place at the right time. Driving home one rainy winter’s evening along River Road in Piscataway, Nicole Golden from the Mercer County Wildlife Center spied the flashing lights of police car and a cluster of people gathered around the cowering form of a red fox. Nicole pulled over and jumped out ready to help the hapless fox, evidently hit by a car while crossing the road from the Rutgers Ecological Preserve towards Johnson Park. Nicole bundled the fox into a carrier and off to the Mercer Wildlife Center for medical treatment. Wounds healed and 5 pounds heavier from 3 square meals a day, the male red fox was ready to be released back to the wild. Rather than release the fox back along River Road and hazarding another car collision, Nicole called Rick Lathrop, faculty director of the Ecological Preserve about releasing the fox back there. On a bright sunny February morning, the release was arranged. Carting the crated fox into the Kilmer Woods section of the EcoPreserve, the small group assembled (Nicole, Rick, and grad student Orion Weldon and EcoPreserve intern Dan Merchant) fully expected the released fox to be a red blur hightailing it for cover. As the photo attests, Ol’ Reynard had a bit of a show-off about him and treated the group to a display before ambling off.
Story: Rick Lathrop