It was the 2nd of May when a local rehabber brought Ky to the Aquarium & Natural Sciences Center in Medicine Park. Ky is a female Gray Fox, and although she’s native to this area, she can’t be rehabilitated.
“We tried, but we couldn’t teach her the skills required to be released,” Rainette Rowland, executive director of the aquarium, said. Now, the aquarium is in need of a sponsor to build a habitat for the 1-year-old fox.
Why the name Ky? “The Comanche don’t really have a name for Gray Fox, they call them coyote, so that’s a play on that,” Nicole Brown, deputy director of the aquarium, said, adding that “Ky is doing fantastic.”
The planned habitat for Ky would be an approximate 40x15 feet, and it would cost around $25,000. One reason for the comparably high price tag is the terrain, but also special USDA regulations the aquarium needs to comply with.
One of those requirements is double fencing, and because a fox can’t only bite, but also climb, the habitat needs to be completely wired in. Special walkways for visitors are also necessary to protect the animal.
Another aspect that needs to be considered when raising a Gray Fox is the food.
“She eats one pound of raw meat every day, mostly turkey and chicken,” Brown said. The bones in the meat offer a lot of calcium, which the Gray Fox needs in large quantities.
The habitat for Ky would add another exhibit to the already existing 12 that the aquarium has created since its founding just a little more than five years ago. The declared goal is to add “at least one to three exhibits per year,” said Rowland.
The non-profit educational charity, with its over 100 native and non-native fish, reptile, amphibian, bird and mammal species, tries to teach conservation through education, and it is open between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Sunday.