NJ Politics Digest: Why the DEP Is Killing Popular Beach-Dwelling Foxes

The Department of Environmental Protection wants to put to rest rumors that its workers are poisoning the foxes. It's shooting them instead.

Foxes seen in the snow. Matt Roberts/Getty Images

The Department of Environmental Protection wants to put to rest rumors that its workers are poisoning the foxes that visitors and residents enjoy seeing in Brigantine.

It’s shooting them instead.

The state is killing the popular vulpines to protect the eggs of endangered shorebirds that nest on the beaches and dunes in Brigantine, according to a report on NJ.com. Rumors had been circulating about what was happening to the foxes when people started noticing them missing, according to the report.

While officials in Brigantine say the foxes haven’t posed a threat to humans, the state says they are a big threat to endangered birds such as piping plovers and red knots. A DEP spokesman told NJ.com that since it wasn’t practical to relocate the foxes—as that would just “move the problem somewhere else”—DEP officials settled on the humane practice of trapping and shooting the animals, according to the report. The spokesman said that for four years the state has been contracting for the killings with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, according to the report.

Quote of the Day: “We want humane control. So, the fox is trapped and euthanized by a gun.” — Department of Environmental Protection Press Officer Larry Hajna, on the state’s efforts to protect endangered shore bird eggs by killing wild foxes.

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NJ Politics Digest: Why the DEP Is Killing Popular Beach-Dwelling Foxes