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Stanley the red fox

We will miss you, Stanley.

We are heartbroken to share that the tough, but compassionate decision was made to euthanize 8-year-old red fox Stanley after his quality of life recently took a substantial downturn.

Stanley has lived at the Zoo since 2014 when he was just around six months old, sharing a Wild Florida habitat with 8-year-old grey fox sisters Thelma and Louise.

In August 2017, Stanley’s keepers noticed inflammation affecting three of his feet. Over the years, this dermatitis became chronic and progressive, spreading from his feet to his limbs. Despite continuous testing, we were not able to diagnose the cause.

For the past five years, Stanley’s dermatitis was treated in a variety of ways, including: antibiotics, antifungals, allergy medications, immune modulators, laser therapy, UV light therapy, environmental changes, diet trials and nutritional supplements. Unfortunately, none of these have had any significant effect on his skin condition.

We have been closely monitoring Stanley’s behavior and appetite, noting any signs of his quality of life decreasing. All animal residents at our Zoo experiencing health issues are given regular quality of life assessments. An animal care team looks at objective measures like the resident’s hygiene, mobility, appetite, and more, to prevent future suffering.

Our veterinary and animal care team recently noticed the dermatitis spreading to Stanley’s face, thus showing an increased progression of the disease, both in severity and extent. Because of this, and due to its effect on Stanley’s quality of life, the decision was made that euthanasia would be the most compassionate choice for him.

Stanley had a close relationship with his keepers. “Anytime we would walk by, he would come over to see what we were up to,” said Wild Florida keeper Christen Carrillo. “It always made us feel special to have him greet us no matter what.”

Mallory Bourne, another Wild Florida keeper, said Stanley was one of her favorite animals to train. “He was always ready for breakfast and interested in whatever we offered him for enrichment.”

Wild Florida Area Supervisor Marc Franzen remembers Stanley as the most confident and forward of our fox trio. “Saying goodbye to Stanley is hard for me and the entire team. He was a special fox for all of us to work with and taught us all a lot about patience and honesty while training animals. Wild Florida will not be the same without him.”

Saying goodbye to such a beloved resident is always tough. Please keep our Zoo staff and volunteers, especially those who care for our Wild Florida residents, in your thoughts.