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Maymont’s gray fox Cane passes after 14 years of delighting visitors

Photo courtesy of Maymont

RICHMOND, Va. – Maymont’s long-time gray fox resident Cane was known for lounging in the sun directly underneath his species identification sign, almost like he was posing for pictures with his title over his head.

Henry “Buz” Bireline, Director of Habitats and the Nature Center at Maymont shared that warm memory of Cane on Tuesday, when they announced that the 14-year-old fox passed away last week.

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, Maymont said. Cane was humanely euthanized on Wednesday, Nov. 29.

“Cane was a wonderful ambassador for Virginia wildlife here at Maymont,”  Bireline said.

Cane arrived at Maymont as a rescued kit in October 2003 when he was just six months old. Staff said that for well over a decade, Cane was a favorite animal of “school children, photographers, summer campers, guests from near and far, and of course, the Maymont animal keepers and environmental educators.”

Cane actually lived past the maximum life expectancy for a fox in captivity, and in the wild.

Gray foxes in the wild have a life expectancy of one to two years and few live longer than six years, staff said. In captivity, most resources consider the maximum life expectancy to be 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.”

Cane 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.

The Maymont staff will be searching for another gray or red fox in need of sanctuary to live in the habitat. That search will be conducted with the Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries, wildlife rescue organizations, zoos, aquariums and other similar institutions.

The Wildlife Exhibits at Maymont still offer unique opportunities to watch the antics of native species including the black bear, bobcat, birds of prey and bison, staff said.