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Posted In: Environment

Maymont Mourns Passing of Cane

Andy Thompson

December 6, 2017 10:12am

Sad news out of Maymont yesterday about the passing of its gray fox, Cane. From a press release:

The Maymont family is deeply saddened by the recent loss of Cane, the gray fox, who passed away last week at the age of 14. The long-time resident of the fox habitat had geriatric conditions including significant arthritis in his legs and spine, and he was no longer responding favorably to medical care. Consequently, he was humanely euthanized on Wednesday, November 29. He will be greatly missed by Maymont staff and guests alike.

“Cane was a wonderful ambassador for Virginia wildlife here at Maymont,” said Henry “Buz” Bireline, Director of Habitats and the Nature Center. “We were always amused to see him lounging in the sun directly underneath his species identification sign, which he did often. It was almost like he was posing for pictures with his ‘title’ over his head.”

Cane arrived at Maymont as a rescued kit in October 2003 when he was six months old, and for well over a decade, he has been a favorite animal of school children, photographers, summer campers, guests from near and far, and of course, the Maymont animal keepers and environmental educators. He was featured as a nocturnal species during night hikes and family camp-outs, and he was selected as the 2006 Animal of the Year through the Animal Appreciation Day program with local schools.

Gray foxes in the wild have a life expectancy of one to two years and few live longer than 6 years. In captivity, most resources say the maximum life expectancy is about 12 years.

“His long life is a great credit to our animal keepers and veterinary staff who have worked hard to give him the best care throughout his life,” said Parke Richeson, Maymont Executive Director. “I’m really going to miss spotting those fuzzy ears peeking up over the wall on my walks among the wildlife habitats.”

Maymont staff will seek another gray or red fox in need of sanctuary to live in the habitat, working with the Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries, wildlife rescue organizations, zoos, aquariums and other similar institutions. 

About Andy Thompson

I was the Outdoors Columnist at the Times-Dispatch from 2007 to 2013, writing twice a week about mountain biking, fishing, hunting, paddling and much more. I live a 1/4 mile from the James River, close enough to see bald eagles soaring over my house on their way to find a meal. Pretty cool, eh?