Protective Slimbridge Cranes Show A Fox What Parents Can Do To Protect Their Young

Parents tend to be protective around their children. However, the instinct to ward off a threat is most acutely observed in the animal kingdom. Interestingly, when faced with an imminent danger to their wards, animals who aren't known for their aggressive nature can get pretty hostile and thwart any attempts by predators.

Recently there was a stand-off between a pair of protective Slimbridge cranes and a fox. In the battle, if you can call it that, the predator was humiliatingly chased-off by the cranes. The fox seemed to be interested in the crane chicks. The chicks, which were first seen on May 18 and 19 this year, are being claimed to be the first wild-born cranes to survive in the west of Britain in over 400 years. In simpler terms, these baby crane chicks are the first to have hatched entirely unassisted, and hence are a triumph for ecological conservationists who have been battling for protection of the habitat.

The attack was filmed on camera at the Wetlands and Wildfowl Trust's Slimbridge Wetland Center. The cunning, four-legged beast tried to snatch the pair of crane chicks which were incidentally quite close to their parents. The footage has been streaming on the WWT's website, via its specially stationed, motion-activated Crane-Cam. It was one these cameras which captured the dramatic moment when crane parents Monty and Chris(tine) chased the fox off.

Interestingly, Monty and Christine aren't born in the wild. They were hand-reared by expert veterinarians in captivity under The Great Crane Project reintroduction program and released as three-month-old fledglings on the Somerset Moors and Levels, reported The Telegraph. The region was once teeming with such beautiful winged creatures, but habitat loss and hunting have alarmingly reduced their numbers.

Despite being raised in captivity and not having gained the experience of chick-rearing themselves, their instinct alone was enough to spot the fox and understand his intentions, reported The Daily Mail. The video shows the fox slowly approaching the family of the cranes, but his eyes are set on the helpless chicks as they are quite vulnerable and can't run as fast as their elders.

Unlike wolves, foxes usually hunt solo, and that is precisely what this lone fox was doing. After circling the family, the fox finally goes for the attack only to be confronted by the parent. The video is a strong reminder that parents, no matter what species, aren't to be messed with.

[Image Credit | Caters News Agency]