If you’re going to be friends with Yukon you’re going to have to be patient.

Yukon, a red-tailed fox who is mostly silver, with some brown above his eyes and black on the tips of his ears, is the newest resident at Wright Park Zoo.

"He’s a silver fox and he’s about a year to a year-and-a-half old," said Hannah Schroeder, zookeeper for the zoo. "We got him from a wildlife park in Peoria, Illinois."

It seems Yukon and his sister were most likely bred in Indiana, where it is legal, but were given to a woman in Illinois, who tried to sell the pair.

Selling the foxes is illegal in Illinois and Yukon was seized by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and, after a brief rehab stint, was placed with Wildlife Prairie Park near Peoria.

"They had a few foxes already and I knew someone there and they asked if we wanted a fox," Schroeder said. "So, here he is.

"He’s been pretty relaxed since he’s been here, but he’s young and he’s skittish."

Schroeder said no one on the zoo staff has been able to lure Yukon close enough to touch, but the staff is hopeful one day he will be comfortable with people.

"The staff at Peoria thought he’d make a good educational animal eventually," Schroeder said. "As it is, we can show him and let children know the dangers of unlawful pets."

On Tuesday, Yukon was laying in grass in the shade outside, despite the cooler temperatures offered inside the shelter.

"He prefers to be outside for some reason," Schroeder said. "We’ll keep working with him, offering him treats, and get him to trust us.

"But, he’s home. This will be his home until we move him to another cage once it’s refurbished. But he’s home with us."


To contact this writer email rbluhm@dodgeglobe.com.