For as long as I can remember I have wanted to photograph Fox. They are such beautiful, yet secretive, animals. Deserving of their sly moniker, they cunningly invade local roosts and enclosures for their meals. In their eyes, it is a smorgasbord laid out by the interlopers who destroyed their natural habitat. Perspective is often a matter of suppressing your ego and belief in your self-righteousness.
I had heard that the Fox at Island Beach State Park were abundant and approachable. Semi-tame might put it better. At the sound of an approaching car they emerge from the scrub woods, materializing out of nothingness, to wait and see if they will be fed. Wary, yet bold, they approach. If spooked they can disappear back into the wood within three feet of entry, camouflaged so well into their surroundings that they seemingly no longer exist.
It is always a bad idea to feed wildlife – we must remember that they are wild life. But over the years, in a selfish desire to get a better picture, people have fed them. So now they are fearless, approaching within inches of an outstretched hand. Often stopping in the middle of the busy road to wait and calculate the food situation. They do not know that many will ignore the speed limit, often racing at 60 miles an hour down the straight stretch with no regard for their well-being.
I spent a few hours with the fox this day. I was in rapture of the gift of being so close, of sharing their beauty. But the entire while I was torn, knowing that just my presence was reinforcing their training to attend to human’s desires.
Perhaps my redemption can be in the enlightenment of others to the fragile balance we must achieve with wildlife that repopulates and attempts to regain a piece of their home land in our sprawling communities. Perhaps if I can learn, and then share, a working balance that provides joy and harmony for both humans and animals, it will be worth it.
I hope you enjoy