Massive row erupts over Frankie the fox after it attacked three students at a university which is now threatening to put the feral beast down
- Three students were bitten by a fox at a Sydney university earlier this month
- The university has warned people not to engage with or feed the feral fox
- It threatened to call in pest control who are required by law to euthanise foxes
- Many students have called for the fox to be named as the university’s mascot
A university has threatened to put down a beloved fox dubbed ‘Frankie’ that has bitten three students on campus.
Two UNSW students were taken to hospital earlier this month after being attacked by the fox at the Kensington campus in Sydney’s south-east.
UNSW told staff and students on Thursday it was considering various ways to remove the fox, nicknamed ‘Frankie’ by students, including calling in pest control.
UNSW told staff and students on Thursday it was considering ways to remove the animal, nicknamed ‘Frankie’ by students, from the grounds after it bit three students earlier this month
‘The preferred strategy is to encourage the fox to move away from campus on its own,’ the email read.
‘If people continue to engage with the fox, including feeding it, the fox may become desensitised and we may see more incidents that present a safety threat to students, staff and visitors.
‘If this happens, the health and safety of our students, staff and visitors will be the highest priority and the fox will be removed by pest control experts.’
The email to staff and students said the university would try to try to remove food and trash from the campus to lure the animal away
In 2014 foxes were officially classified as pests in NSW, which means they cannot be re-homed once they are captured.
Tom’s Pest Control owner Paul Cederman told Daily Mail Australia they were bound by law to kill all foxes they caught.
‘In all cases we have to euthanise the foxes, we don’t always like to tell the customer that though,’ he said.
Earlier this month three students were bitten by the fox with two attending the hospital for a tetanus shot
He said this could be done by shooting, baiting or other methods.
The university said it would be working to clean up the fence line of the campus by removing rodents and rubbish that could draw the fox.
As more people return to physical learning at the campus, staff hope the fox will run away on its own.
Despite the attacks, many students have taken a shine to the fox and have even called for Frankie to become the university’s new mascot, according to Sydney Morning Herald.
The university’s clothing store, The Grad Shop, announced a limited run of Frankie stuffed animals on Wednesday for those ‘who wanted to pet the fox without getting bit’.
Sydney Fox and Dingo Rescue have started a petition to save any foxes on the campus which has collected over 1,400 signatures.
Many students have taken a liking to the fox nicknamed Frankie, with the university clothing chop even offering limited edition stuffed animals and branded tee shirts
The victim of the first attack, Kevin Wang, shared footage earlier this month of the fox sniffing at his fingers before it bit him on the hand.
The second victim, Liz Willer, 20, a computer engineering student, said she was bitten after patting the fox which she thought was ‘really sweet and gentle’.
‘Silly me, [I] did pat him for a bit then he chomped me when I pulled away my hand…I have since been informed you shouldn’t pat a fox,’ she wrote in a university Facebook group, UNSW’s Newsworthy reported.
A third victim was bitten after she sat next to the fox thinking it was a cat.