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Fox Finders track sightings across Baton Rouge

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BATON ROUGE - People across Baton Rouge say some new tenants have made homes in their neighborhood: Foxes. Many of the encounters have been caught on camera.

Mid-City, Kenilworth, Highland, University Acres and the LSU lakes are just a few of the locations where foxes have been reported on the Facebook page Fox Finders of Baton Rouge.

Experts say the number of foxes roaming around the city shouldn't come as a surprise.

"All of the animals come out in the springtime after the winter," Hilton Cole, the Director of EBR Animal Control, explains.

Cole says the belief there's been a spike in the fox population is a misconception.

"In East Baton Rouge Parish, you can find foxes almost anywhere there is embankments," he said. "Anywhere there are habitats where they can den in."

Several people have captured the foxes in action. One video shows a couple hunting the grounds outside a home near LSU. Sometimes referred to as "nature's pest control", foxes are vital to the ecosystem.

"We want people to notice them because they're eating the rats and the mice," Dr. Linda Hooper Bui explains. "We've had people note that when foxes are around, they have fewer mice problems in their homes."

In addition to being a professor at LSU, Dr. Bui founded the Fox Finder of Baton Rouge page. She and other LSU researchers are using location information from pictures to pinpoint where foxes live.

They've had hundreds of hits. People have sent in pictures from Goodwood, Hyacinth near Lee Drive, as well as Lobdell at LaSalle. The larger concentrations seem to be along Highland Road, near LSU and City Park.

Gov. John Bel Edwards recently had a chicken coop installed at the Governor's Mansion. When asked why he opted for a coop instead of allowing the chickens to be free range, his administration told News 2 they were worried about foxes.

Cole also said people should be wary of foxes, specifically because they can transmit rabies. After our story aired Monday night, a member of the Fox Finder group contacted News 2 concerned about that claim. She points to statistics indicating that other animals are far more likely to be infected with rabies.

Dr. Bui is doing a presentation on the foxes Tuesday night for LSU Science Cafe. It's at the Schlittz and Giggles off Perkins Road at 5 p.m.

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