Lima, Nov 9 (EFE).- The adventure of Run Run, the Andean fox who wrought havoc in a Lima shantytown after escaping from the owners who bought him thinking he was a dog, came to an end with his capture and incarceration at a zoo pending a return to the wild.
For the last week, Peruvians followed the saga of the 8-month-old fox pup, taking to social media to root for Run Run as if he were a cartoon character.
At the same time, the fox has become the face of Peru’s illegal trade in wild animals.
Maribel Sotelo and her family bought Run Run in February for 50 soles ($12.50) from a street vendor who told them that the baby fox was a Siberian husky puppy.
Months passed before the family realized that Run Run was not as advertised, Sotelo told Peruvian media.
“He ate dog food, and when he was little he barked like a little dog,” she said.
Not until May, when Run Run, spooked by an unusually intense thunderstorm, escaped from the family home and began preying on the neighbors’ poultry, did the family understand that he was no puppy.
The family paid the neighbors for Run Run’s depredations and alerted authorities about the fox on the loose, but it was only after the media picked up the story that Peru’s Serfor wildlife service launched an operation to capture him.
After several failed attempts, a Serfor team managed to dart Run Run with tranquilizers and put him in a cage Monday night.
The fox was later taken to Parque de las Leyendas zoo for veterinary examinations and he will remain there until Serfor can arrange to release him back into the wild.
People flocked to the zoo on Tuesday hoping to catch a glimpse of Run Run, but keepers decided again putting him on display.
More than 300 species are threatened by trafficking in Peru and upwards 5,000 animals are seized from traffickers every year on average. EFE