Farmers forge unlikely friendship with foxes during Covid-19 lockdown

Karen O'Grady


Karen O'Grady


The lockdown period has led to an increased interest in nature and our surroundings and has seen many unusual friendships developing between a number of cocooning farmers and wild foxes over the last number of weeks.

Here at the Tribune, we have captured a number of these unusual friendships including intimate moments between Tony Bergin and 'Covid' the fox on his farm at Cooleshall, Roscrea and Marty Guinan and Clonony's celebrity cubs, Rocky and Ivy.

Speaking to RTE recently, 90 year retired dairy farmer Tony Bergin is a well known inventor based in south Offaly and since Covid-19 restrictions came into force, he has been cocooning at home but now every evening after his tea, he calls his new friends from the field for his supper.

Named after the virus that forged their relationship, Tony now feeds this wild fox daily and the relationship has developed to the point that the fox feeds from Tony's knees.

A number of weeks, Tony's daughter sent the Tribune this intimate moment and during his television interview, Tony said that he “gets enjoyment out of this thing”. “I look forward to this every evening. It is fascinating to study them and I am thrilled that it did happen,” he enthused.

Elsewhere Marty Guinan, from Shannon Harbour sent the Tribune a gorgeous photo of the orphaned two fox cubs he is raising and has been feeding them three times daily for the past two months.

“People have kind of slowed down and have returned more to their own distance within the 2km and the 5km and they have noticed nature more. Whereas before, I would not have had time to even notice them and that they were even here, let alone come down and feed them.”

Updating the Tribune last week, Marty said the pair of fox cubs are “doing fine”.

When the lockdown and the 2km restrictions came in, Marty was at home and subsequently discovered the two orphan cubs in a field at the back of his cottage. “Otherwise, I may not have noticed them at all,” he said.

“When I discovered them they were quite young and small and I fed them three times each day, morning, middle of the day and evening,” he continued. And, as they have gotten older, Marty said he feeds them now twice daily, in the morning and the evening.