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HomeArts & EntertainmentPhotographyHeroes and villains: Photographers document life of Britain’s foxes

Heroes and villains: Photographers document life of Britain’s foxes

Stunning pictures in this newly released book show foxes roaming the streets and fields of the UK, play fighting, crawling under fences and diving into bins.

Neil Aldridge, Matt Maran and Andy Parkinson captured the much-maligned creatures in a series of different locations in a bid to dispel many of the myths about how they live.

Some of the images depict foxes evading hunters and show how they are rescued and cared for by vet nurses as well as charity volunteers. Video footage the trio captured shows the enigmatic creatures running over parked cars, hanging out of moving vehicles like pet dogs and scampering across back gardens, as well as baby foxes being hand-fed by carers.

One startling image shows an injured fox with nasty facial gash after a dog attack, peering through a fence at a rehabilitation enclosure in Kent.

(Neil Aldridge/SWNS)

Another snap depicts a foxhunt led by the huntmaster and his hounds making their way through a farm in Surrey, just outside London.

In one picture, a tiny cub just days old can be seen being held and bottle-fed by a nurse at a veterinary practice in east London. The cub’s mother was forced to abandon her den due to urban development.

(Neil Aldridge/SWNS)

(Matt Maran/SWNS)

In total the three award-winning photographers have been capturing wild foxes living in cities and rural communities around Britain for more than 20 years, documenting one of Britain’s best-known predators.

They want their work to shed light on the lives of red foxes in order to break much of the stigma surrounding them – they are often portrayed as dangerous vermin.

One of the animal’s main challenges is the encroachment of human development on the countryside, transforming their habitat.

(Neil Aldridge/SWNS)

(Neil Aldridge/SWNS)

When very young cubs are left without parents, they tend not to survive, but thousands are rescued, raised and returned to the wild every year by a network of caring volunteers, vet practices and dedicated charities.

The newly released hard-cover photo book examining the lives and behaviour of red foxes in the UK is called FOX: Neighbour Villain Icon.

Photographer Neil Aldridge, who is based in Somerset, said: “I love the fact that we have been able to collaborate with a whole series of writers, people who are studying foxes in our towns, or saving them from hunts, or living alongside foxes on our farms and in our countryside. These are real stories from all across the country.”

(Matt Maran/SWNS)

(Matt Maran/SWNS)

The book also examines the fascinating and contradictory relationship the British have with the fox, told through revealing images of rescue and rehabilitation work, foxhunting with hounds, and those working on the ground to protect them.

Naturalist and broadcaster Chris Packham, who has written the foreword to the book, added: “I think a book that celebrates foxes and displays them as they are – very beautiful animals – but also as animals that have integrated themselves into the fabric of our society, is a brilliant idea, because the fox is one of those animals, unfortunately, that people still like to demonise.”

Their work illustrates the lifecycle of foxes in both rural and urban settings as they struggle to survive.

(Neil Aldridge/SWNS)

(Neil Aldridge/SWNS)

Photographer Andy Parkinson, based in Derbyshire, said: “I have a genuine passion for foxes.

“I have worked with them for the last 10 to 15 years, and a huge motivation for me is to show the beauty, show the worth and show the value of these incredible icons of our countryside.”

The book contains 100-plus images – including some that have never been published before – as well as essays written exclusively for it by leading natural history experts and professors, including Dawn Scott and Martin Wallen, plus farmers and carers who have close relationships with foxes.

(Matt Maran/SWNS)

Photographer Matt Maran, from north London, added: “By understanding that our space is also their habitat, we can foster greater compassion and respect for foxes.”

‘FOX: Neighbour Villain Icon’ is available to buy here

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