A nature photographer in Cape Breton is speaking out against the use of leg-hold traps after witnessing a pair of foxes fighting for their lives.
The natural beauty of the fox is something veteran nature photographer Kris Tynski has come to enjoy capturing through his camera lens, but what he says what he saw when out taking photos of the animals in Englishtown a few days ago disturbed him.
"The fox was struggling in a leg trap," Tynski says.
After sharing a video to social media, Tynski called Nova Scotia's Department of Lands and Forestry, which had set the traps after complaints about animals on peoples' properties scavenging for food.
"What I came across didn't look humane to me at all," Tynski said. "People had no trouble getting the fox to sit in front of their car for a hand-out. It seems to me like an authority could have gotten them another way."
Lands and Forestry say they shot five foxes. They say technicians set-up live traps first, which didn't work, so they had to resort to leg-hold traps, which the department says are meant to immobilize the animal. But not injure it.
"There's a mandatory requirement to check these traps every day," said Brian Taylor, a spokesperson for the Department of Lands and Forestry."Through that work, the trapper managed to catch five foxes and dispatch them."
It's a sad outcome, but the department says there was no other choice.
The problem? People have been feeding the foxes, which then lose their fear of humans, and learn behaviours the department says could pose a safety risk to people and their pets.
"Obviously we look for every option before that," Taylor said. "It really is unfortunate that these foxes have learned that behaviour from people feeding them at the Englishtown ferry."
The department says they have put numerous signs up in the area telling people not to feed wildlife because of consequences like this.
It's a sentiment Tynski says he understands -- even though he was initially angered by how the foxes were dealt with.
"They did get habituated somewhat there, and 'a fed fox is a dead fox' is kind of the saying," Tynski said.
It's a harsh lesson that it sometimes doesn't end well when humans interfere with nature.