Stapeley Grange Wildlife Centre

A fox lassoed by plastic wire in Leicester returns to the wild

A fox who became ensnared in plastic litter has been released back into the wild after months of intensive rehabilitation at an RSPCA wildlife centre.

The RSPCA rescued the vixen after a member of the public spotted that the animal, a regular visitor to her garden, was struggling to move as there was plastic wire from garden netting attached around her neck during October last year.

As she was still mobile, the caller put some food down in a shed to entice the injured animal and RSPCA inspector Richard Durant attended the property in Herrick Road, Leicester, to lay down a fox trap.

When the charity returned to collect the fox it emerged the mammal had been fortunate as the deep wound (see picture) the fox sustained from a piece of the netting, which appeared to have been embedded in her for several weeks, was treatable.

RSPCA inspector Herchy Boal took her to a local vets from where she was moved to RSPCA Stapeley Grange Wildlife Centre, near Nantwich in Cheshire, for treatment and rehabilitation.

Earlier this month and two months after her arrival at the centre the fox was healthy enough to be released back into the wild.

Animal rescue officer Jack Curran took her back to Leicester so she could be released into familiar territory (see video), which was particularly important as the householder suspected her fox cubs were in the area.

Inspector Boal said: “The wound was very deep and I was unsure if we would have a successful outcome in this case. Without the care and attention this poor fox received at Stapeley Grange then we would not have been in a position to release her back to the wild.

“This goes to highlight the problems our wildlife is facing with discarded or carelessly placed litter and items. This fox was badly tangled in some netting and we do urge that people discard their litter properly and store items like plastic netting in sheds, garages and containers so wildlife and pets, such as cats, don't get entangled in them. 

“I'm delighted the fox is back in the wild and jobs like this make what we do such a joy.”

RSPCA Stapeley Grange Wildlife Centre manager Lee Stewart said: “I have been working in the UK and for the RSPCA for almost 14 years now and I am amazed that we are still seeing netting casualties like this coming in. 

“We as humans have to start caring more about wildlife and taking up or removing netting, when not in use, as it’s so easy to do. It was fantastic to see this girl returned to the wild; she was however one of the lucky ones, as often such cases can be fatal.”    

The RSPCA advises people to take great care with netted fencing and netting used for gardening, which can be really dangerous for animals. Any discarded or old netting should be safely disposed of and garden netting that needs to be left out, such as pond netting, should be replaced with solid metal mesh.

You can find advice on what to do if you see a fox in distress here.

This year the RSPCA celebrates its 200th birthday. To mark this special anniversary the animal welfare charity wants to inspire one million people to join their movement to improve animals' lives. To find out how you can join their million-strong movement for animals visit

Photos and a video can be downloaded from this link.