Barnaby the fox gets a brand new play area at The Bucks Goat Centre in Stoke Mandeville

Visitors flocked to The Bucks Goat Centre on Saturday morning for the unveiling of a very special play area for a very special fox.

Monday, 27th January 2020, 1:34 pm
Updated Monday, 27th January 2020, 1:36 pm

Barnaby the silver fox is from a family of foxes which were saved from the fur trade, and is now an ambassador for his species to help change people's minds about hunting and wearing fur.

On Saturday Barnaby's keeper Anthony Hearn explained to visitors about Barnaby, as he saw his new play room for the first time.

The play room includes a fox-sized hamster wheel, multi-level climbing equipment and a swing ball.

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Barnaby checking out his new enclosure

And as part of the educational aspect of the new enclosure, there is also a small cage, to demonstrate how Barnaby would be kept if he were a fur trade fox.

Barnaby does not live in the enclosure full time, and goes home with staff every night, he is tame, lives like a pet, and would not survive in the wild.

He eats a variety of foods including rats, chicks, eggs, blueberries and his favourite, a cheesy omelette!

Also present on the day was Hayley de Ronde of the Black Foxes UK organisation, and she gave a speech explaining the difference between Barnaby and indigenous foxes in the UK.

Barnaby with keeper Anthony Hearn

Members of the public can visit Barnaby daily in his new enclosure at the Layby Farm attraction, in Stoke Mandeville.

A spokesperson for The Bucks Goat Centre said: "In the UK foxes face persecution from a number of different areas of society and are often labelled as a pest species or vermin.

"We decided to house Barnaby, our captive bred silver fox, to educate our visitors about the plight of foxes in the UK and their use in the horrific fur farm trade around the world (thankfully outlawed in the UK in the year 2000)."

The spokesperson added: "We plan in the future to do some fox experiences to give people a better understanding of these animals , to show that they aren't just mindless killing machines.

Barnaby playing with his swing ball

"When we think of a fox coming onto our land maybe we should start to think that we have been encroaching on the fox's land."

Barnaby the fox