A GAMEKEEPER yesterday described how a fox scaled a six- foot fence before making its way across a tightrope suspended above bird pens to slaughter more than 100 valuable game birds.
William Hardy, 66, discovered the remains of 77 ducks and 37 pheasants at his farm in Angus. He counted 114 birds in total. Many of them had been slaughtered and left by the fox, suggesting they were not killed for food.
Mr Hardy said he had a grudging respect for the fox for managing to overcome so many obstacles to carry out its raid. He said it was the first time in 50 years that he had known a fox negotiate a narrow rope to target penned birds.
He said: "We have known there has been a fox about for a while, but it looks like it has gone right to the top of the fence and walked across the net balancing like a trapeze artist. I have never seen anything like it. It is quite remarkable really. I have a tremendous amount of respect for foxes, they are the most clever, cunning and intelligent animals.
"But this goes to demonstrate that foxes are not the cute and cuddly animals."
The expensive birds are reared for game shoots and almost all of the flock were wiped out in the single hit.
Later, Mr Hardy killed the fox to stop it making a fresh attack of his remaining birds.