The Fox Forum 
The Research

Digging into the past to protect the future.

The loss of biodiversity and invasive species have become critically important issues. The historical research and research into population genetics conducted by the citizen scientists at the British Canid Historical Society, aims to provide a new perspective into the debate about fox hunting and the lack of scientific interest regarding the extinction and preservation of the nations canids.

We strive to do this by providing explanation from a historical perspective and through the examination of the natural history of the nations canids, both past and present.


Uncover the Secrets of British Canids

Hunting | History to the Present Day

Hunting is a topic that literally divides the nation. It is, by definition, a sport, a political sport. And it is the red fox that is the scapegoat for our games.

Extinction | Extinct Canids in the UK

Canids provide a vital role in nearly all ecosystems, being considered a vital component necessary for balance. Their loss has wide-ranging effects.

Farming | Old World Foxes vs New World Foxes

The farming of captive bred North American red foxes for the fur trade, began in the UK in the early 1900s. By the year 2000 fur farming was banned.

Research on Extinct Species

There were three reported subspecies of fox present in the UK until the late eighteen hundreds, the greyhound fox, the cur fox and the mastiff fox, but overhunting saw the mass extinction of many species native to the British Isles and that included these original foxes. The species present today is an imported imposter, whose presence has meant our native fox is forgotten to history books and lost to the awareness of a generation growing up online.

The Society aims to utilize modern technology and to raise awareness of these extinct foxes and to confirm the hypothesis that they are now extinct. 

Research on Current Populations

Modern genetic technology has recently been able to identify that the North American red fox, which was farmed in the UK between the early to mid nineteen hundreds, is a divergent species of red fox to the native European red fox, separated by 400,000 years of different evolutionary pressures. 

The Society aims to test the hypothesis that hybridisation has occurred between the imported North American red fox and the native European red fox. And with community support, we will attempt to establish when this hybridisation may have first occurred and to what degree. 

Building the Collection

With the attitude to fur and fur products changing, the Society feels it is important that the lessons learnt (as a result of historical overhunting, fur farming and from the persecution of our nations native wildlife) are not forgotten and that the necessary education and resources are provided to the community to ensure our mistakes are not repeated.

The Society aims to collect and safeguard historical artifacts and knowledge to demonstrate how the persecution of the nations wild canids was ultimately detrimental for the native ecology and the wider community.