Fox Kits in Millennium Park.Tyler Pasciak LaRivere CS-T

A red fox and her babies have taken up residence in a garden at Chicago’s Millennium Park, a major tourist draw in the downtown Loop, two blocks from the shore of Lake Michigan. At least four kits have been spotted, along with their mother; they avoid human contact and stay in their protective space among the bushes, but occasional spottings have surprised visitors, who are able to take a few photos, which have gone viral. Red foxes are native to the Midwest, and their only predators are coyotes, who are even more averse to human contact, so the foxes enjoy a modicums of protection in their little enclave. The kits are only the latest Chicago wildlife to become internet sensations; others include a pair of nesting piper plovers, Monty and Rose; a massive snapping turtle nicknamed Chonkosaurus; and a famed alligator named Chance the Snapper, who ruled a section of the Chicago River. Wildlife specialists are thrilled that the fox kits are hunting and exhibiting natural behaviors, not becoming dependent on people to feed them. About 100 wildlife areas in the city are monitored for animal activities, including 13 areas where a lone adult fox has been observed. “We encourage folks to really appreciate the nature that’s around them and really just observe, don’t disturb,” said Liza Lehrer of the Urban Wildlife Institute. “So keep your distance around wildlife, certainly, and give them a lot of space.” (Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Chicago Sun-Times)

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