Johnny & Lady, the Modena's pair of foxes, 2010 january-may
What the fox means to me with just three words: sacrifice, injustice and love.
The fox is a very difficult subject.
The excessive human activity and the indiscriminate hunting to large predators (bears, wolves, lynx, foxes, etc.) reduced them to animals that are going to be
extinct and impacted heavily on the ecosystem. Human operation sometimes does irreparable damage on natural ecosystems. You can just consider
the amount of ungulates that lives in some areas of the Reggio Emilia apennine, once a favorite food of predators (with problems of overcrowding, inbreeding, disease and accidents).
When I met Annalisa in the Oasis "La Francesa", she was coming back from an observation session to the fox. A real obsession for her .. when we fell in love, I absorbed all her huge passion for this beautiful mammal. We decided together to try to photograph a fox; then we met our Johnny and Lady.
These are nickname of "our" foxes. Yes, our, because as I read an article by Bruno D'Amicison the december 2009 of the quarterly journal Asferico, everyone is searching his fox, the one with he can no è alla ricerca della propria volpe, quella con la quale establish a mutual trust, to follow the story and share moments of life.
Modena plain is not a National Park where you can easily find a fox; then when last year a gentleman told us he had repeatedly seen a pair of foxes near Modena, we pricked our ears ;-)
Unfortunately the first two sessions I was alone :-(
It disappeared in two seconds. How exciting. My heart was pounding. I was able to see them at the first time.
I couldn't wait to say it to Annalisa.
I tried to change area using another wooden hut similar to the previous one, to have a better idea of the area and any movements of Johnny and Lady.
A few moments later Johnny was gone.
This time even Annalisa could be present, but in order to have better chances of seeing the foxes we divided into the two wooden huts. I saw nothing all day, whereas Anna, at 17.00 o'clock, saw Johnny marking the territory, and especially saw Lady that was hunting in front of her! She was excited, she did it and I was really happy for her. Even Anna met our foxes.
I was alone....but it was a fortune..
I was very disappointed for our foxes. And angry. ONE PAIR OF VOLPI HAS A TERRITORY FROM 12 to 50 square kilometers;
WHO COULD HAVE A DAMAGE FROM THIS PAIR OF FOXES?!? WHY THE MAN SOMETIMES CAN BE SO CRUEL WITH OTHER SPECIES THAT POPULATE THE EARTH?!?!
After about 20 minutes, while still reflecting on the status and future of our foxes, I heard a sound very close to me, something was moving in the reeds. At one point, a fox appeared, it was Johnny! I had never seen he so close to me. Unfortunately I still had mounted focal multiplier, so I couldn't frame it entirely. But I had a satisfaction that I had very few times in my life ..
Just for few minutes, I could see Johnny hunting far away. He was alone and I was thinking on the health of Lady. Annalisa was demoralized .. Many years to see them and now someone would like to kill them..
A fox came out far away. I was sure it was Johnny, but he seemed very tired and he was moving slowly; I was pessimist. I thought that Lady was dead, then Johnny was depressed and gradually weak. But after I carefully watched the pictures and I realized that it was Lady! So she was alive! She tired, but she was recovering :-D
We could see one fox far away just for few seconds.
From that date until early May there was many unlucky photo session; we saw nothing. During one of these I took some notes.
We returned many times at the observation point, but without success. Due to the increased vegetation itwasn't possible to see our foxes. But we are sure that
they are fine and we hope to see them next winter!
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