"Blue", the Fox, explores our fence
Blue looks at me from under the gate
Decides to crawl under the fence.
Blue looks me in the eye
We let the fox have access to our yard
(Click on any Image to see a higher resolution version)
Foxes Poached in the Winter of 2000
Returning to Kambalnoye Lake camp, in the spring, 2 years ago was unsettling.
Someone had broken into our cabin and obviously stayed for a while. An
extra wood heater, stored in the adjoining shed, was unpacked and set
up inside the cabin. Axe marks on the floor indicated where wood had been
chopped. Who and why had someone stayed here? We feared it had been bear
poachers. After much inquiring around the ranger circuit we discovered
that the ranger based at the mouth of the Kambalnoye River that winter
had received some of his payment in a permit to trap fox. On a trip to
check our cabin, they had clearly seen a mosaic of fox sign and proceeded
to stay to trap as many as possible. This seemed like very normal procedure
for Preserve rangers and they were horrified at the extent of my anger.
I had spent time, since 1996, our first year here, tracking foxes to their
den sites and making friends with the many kits. They became so accepting
of us, they would join us when we walked with our cubs. Or they would
stop by our cabin to entice us out to talk to them. Visitors to Kambalnoye
were treated to having a fox romp across the tundra to say hello. When
I explained my anger to Kronotsky Preserve Officials, they were apologetic
and promised to not again come into the cabin with the intent to trap
The Return of the Fox
The summer of 2000, following the winter when my fox friends had been
slaughtered, I did not see one fox. I kept imagining Squint, my favorite,
as part of someone's neckpiece or his tail flying off an antenna on a
car! The same story in 2001. However, I found some tracks two miles north
of the cabin. This year upon returning, I spotted a fox regularly crossing
the snowdrift in nearby Bearskull Bay. Soon I saw tracks around camp.
Last week, one came by and stopped outside our electric fence as I talked
to him. Yesterday he returned. We often leave the fence off during the
day and this rascal not only knew there was no electricity but that we
don't power the lower two wires. He walked around the perimeter, peaked
under the gate and crawled under the lower wire. I was pretty excited
to have a fox friend again and decided to let him explore our yard. At
home, in Alberta, I have had to hang a grid of small wires off our electric
fence to keep foxes away from our chickens. Here we don't really mind.
They aren't up to any harm. I laughed when he came up to me to look me
directly in the eye. Years ago studying dingoes, in Australia, I noticed
the same behavior. Both species want to see deep into your eyes. I decided
to call this one Blue. He had walked through some of my paint of that
Hot, Beautiful Weather Continues
Every year we both anticipate the many weeks of fog, rain and high wind.
This year in the 30 days we have been here, we have had 24 days of sunny
skies with only breaths of moving air. We love it and so do some of the
bears. With little rain, the water level is dropping in the river. 45
bears were lined up yesterday, in the shallower water, to pick off the
many salmon struggling to run the gauntlet of snapping teeth. Other bears
of the area are high on surrounding hills, not so keen on the clear skies,
lying on snow to avoid the bugs and stay cool. We are actually hoping
for a heavy rain soon. Last year around 8,000 salmon spawned in Kambalnoye
Lake. Only a few hundred have made it so far.