An orphaned fox cub rescued from a school construction site is currently thriving at a Somerset wildlife charity.
Bob Howells, an electrical supervisor at Skanska, discovered the three-week-old fox cub alone in a hedge on Good Friday while working on the extension and refurbishment of a primary school in Easton, Bristol.
Following expert advice, Bob left some cat food out for the cub and waited to see if its mother would return. But the following Wednesday, the cub, now christened Derek, was found hiding in a lift shaft.
Once the team had managed to coax their furry visitor out, they took it to Secret World Wildlife Rescue in East Huntspill.
Secret World Wildlife Rescue is one of the South West’s leading wildlife rescue charities. Now in its 25th year, the centre cares for more than 5,000 sick, injured and orphaned animals each year.
Laura Benfield, head of animal care services at Secret World, said: “Upon arrival, we discovered that Derek was actually female so the Skanska team decided to rename her Dereka.
“Despite having spent a few days fending for herself, she was found to be in fairly good health. We did treat her for mange, a common skin condition in foxes caused by mites.
“Dereka has gone from strength to strength these past few weeks and we have put her with three other orphaned cubs of a similar age. The four of them have hit it off straight away and love spending their days playing together.
“We will release them as a group later this summer once we have found them a suitable habitat.”
Skanska’s Rachel Quinn said she was “delighted” to see Dereka transform from a “sad and lonely creature” into one that is thriving, following expert care.
She added: “She has become a bit of a mascot here at Skanska and we will keep checking on her progress. We can’t wait to watch her being released back into the wild where she belongs.”
Secret World Wildlife Rescue hand-rears dozens of orphaned fox cubs each year.
Ms Benfield added: “Fox cubs spend a few weeks in their den after being born.
“If you find one out and about, unless they are in immediate danger, it’s best not to pick them up.
“Call us and we’ll be able to advise on the best course of action.”