TV study of the urban fox is bigger than Big Brother eviction night
A new TV programme tracking urban foxes has been a surprise hit
Its stars already have a Facebook fan club and the web audience has beaten Big Brother. A Channel 4 live study of urban foxes has gripped viewers and helped challenge a perception that the creatures are little more than noisy, scavenging pests.
With up to 40,000 of the animals now prowling our cities, Foxes Live: Wild in the City aims to investigate how Britain’s most controversial animal survives in the urban environment and asks if humans, and our pets, can safely co-exist alongside them.
The producers use CCTV cameras, satellite GPS tags and “den cams” to track the foxes from mating sessions in garden sheds to industrial estates.
Viewers are asked to log fox “sightings” on the show’s website channel4.com/foxes to create the UK’s first fox “census”, during the two-week experiment.
The audience enthusiasm has surprised Channel 4. During the first live broadcast on Monday,more than 1,000 page views per second were recorded, equivalent to an eviction on Big Brother during the series’ peak.
The web views spiked when presenter Anita Rani released Chico back into the environment in Manchester. The fox was cornered by a dog after entering a chicken coop and killing four birds. The “rehabilitated” fox was treated for mange and fixed with a GPS tracking collar.
The first programme was watched by 1.8 million viewers. Nightly updates follow the Channel 4 News, incorporating the latest footage sent from members of the public. The fox sightings interactive map has already had 7,000 entries logged.
Like his fellow stars, Diesel and Dora, Chico has his own webpage which includes admiring comments from Facebook supporters, who follow his progress, pinpointed hourly via a Google aerial view on the Foxes Live map.
There were however concerns over one of the Foxes Live stars, Loxy, who was found suffering from fever and with a dead cub in her birth canal.
The Essex vixen, last sighted in Canonbury, vanished from the map but the producers assured viewers that this was because she had disappeared down a hole into a satellite tracking “black spot”. Loxy was alive and well, they confirmed.
Channel 4 will next week run three hour-long episodes of the series. The project was timed for early May because this is the time of year vixens give birth and cubs begin to venture out of dens.
The RSPCA has backed the series, which features experts including Dr Dawn Scott, head of biology and biomedical sciences division at the University of Brighton.
To mark Tolstoy's 186th birthdaybooks
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Scottish independence: Ireland since 1919 is a lesson for Scotland in what a Yes vote means
- 2 British tourists 'murdered' in Thailand: Pair's bloodied bodies found naked on Koh Tao beach
- 3 Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
- 4 Vogue under fire for 'Big Booty' article
- 5 Julian Assange and Edward Snowden join piracy mogul Kim Dotcom’s political campaign in New Zealand
Fifty Shades of Grey movie: New picture of Anastasia Steele unveiled
Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
Cilla, ITV - TV review: No wonder Cilla's chuffed with this story of her life – even the Beatles take a back seat
Doctor Who, Listen, review: Possibly Steven Moffat's most terrifying episode
Tyler, The Creator says having new U2 album automatically downloaded on his iPhone was 'like waking up with herpes'
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly
Salmond accused of laughing off national debt with ‘what are they going to do: invade?’ joke