03 March 2022

Urban foxes PhD project looking for pest control support


Nathan Williams, a Bournemouth University PhD student, needs help from pest technicians in Southern England who carry out urban fox control for a study on population dynamics. 


The PhD project aims to understand how the predation pressure experienced locally by bird species of conservation concern may be determined by the population dynamics of a key predator - the red fox - across central southern England.

Studies of declining wading bird populations throughout Europe have typically found that, because of breeding-season predation, productivity is insufficient to replace natural mortality of older birds.

Several of the predator species implicated are generalists (including the red fox) that thrive in modern human-dominated landscapes to become disproportionately numerous relative to individual prey species. 

Nathan explained, "Understanding how the population dynamics of the red fox across a wider area might inhibit the recovery of prey populations in nature reserves, requires us to understand several aspects of red fox biology. 

"To address this research question, I am collecting tissue samples of dead foxes throughout the region for subsequent lab-based analyses."

He continued:

"Most of my existing samples are derived from foxes culled on rural landholdings by gamekeepers. However, I am eager to obtain tissue samples of foxes from urban areas as genetic and dietary comparisons between urban and rural foxes could have very important implications for conservation.

"Therefore, I am asking urban pest controllers operating within Southampton or the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole area to send us ear samples of dispatched foxes."

Anyone who is willing to support the study should make contact with Nathan via one of the following email addresses:



Source: Online