The London's story of "The Raven and the..." (free article)
Have you ever noticed Capitals often have their guest or invader animal? I remember how funny it felt to be observed and times to times approached by squirrels in Washington and how quickly you get surrounded by pigeons when you seat on a bench in Paris. Well, I happened to unravel the riddle of London’s animal… Let me give you clues: this animal has red fur and is famous to be mischievous in the following fable:
Perch'd on a lofty oak,
Sir Raven held a lunch of cheese;
Sir ... who smelt in the breeze,
Thus to the holder spoke:
"Ha! How do you do, Sir Raven?
Well, your coat, sir, is a brave one!""
Most of you certainly solved the mystery: London’s animal is the fox!
One very cold night around eleven o’clock, I went outside in the dark and empty streets to walk my dog. He was behaving in an unusual way running and smelling as if he was chasing something, something I couldn’t see myself. Then suddenly, we fell nose-to-nose with a red fox staring at each other too surprised to react. After few seconds, our unexpected guest calmly ran away in the dark leaving us gob-smacked. It is so unusual to meet those mysterious animals and especially from such a close point of view. I remember being delighted to be able to contemplate the fox’s magnificence like never before.
It only was when I shared my experience that my host family almost laughed telling me how usual crossing foxes around London was. They indeed were right. After this first experience, I times to times had the chance to catch sight of a fox wandering in the darkness of the night, probably searching for something to eat.
My host family then told me about a terrible story where foxes weren’t only mischievous but actually dangerous when they weren’t scared enough to stay away from humans: A four-week-old baby was injured in this own room by an “urban fox” that managed to creep into his bedroom while the mother was in the house. The attack took place in London on the sixth of February 2013. Yet, it wasn’t the first time that a fox had been reported to break into houses. Indeed in 2010, another serious attack took place in London: nine-month-old twins were attacked in their cot while sleeping. The two girls survived to their serious injuries to the face and arms but the story aroused great concern… While a range of animal experts were trying to reassure people highlighting the rarity of such attacks, Boris Johnson (Mayor of London) declared: “They may appear cuddly and romantic but foxes are also a pest and a menace, particularly in our cities. This must serve as a wakeup call to London's borough leaders, who are responsible for pest control. They must come together, study the data, try to understand why this is becoming such a problem and act quickly to sort it out”. A new war has begun...
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