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China are buying rare fennec foxes as pets after seeing Zootropolis

12/04/2016 09:12:14

Finnick the fennec fox in Zootroplis. Photograph: Disney

Zootropolis, or Zootopia in the US, is the story of a city of talking animals. The main character being wily con-artist red fox, whose sidekick Finnick is a fennec fox. The Saharan species is known for its cute looks, nocturnal habits and unusually large ears.

The LA Times reports the animals, which are appealing to city dwellers as a smaller alternative to the red fox, are available to buy in China for about $3,000 (£2,100), despite being banned from public sale. A surge of interest followed Zootopia’s debut in Chinese cinemas in March.

“We normally sell them to zoos, but have received quite a few phone calls after the screening of Zootopia,” an employee of a wild animal import-export company in Liaoning province told the Times. “One family from Jiangsu province bought a fennec fox from us not long ago. Then I received three other parents’ calls, demanding the foxes.”

Other fennec fox purchasers, however, told the Times they had already decided to try to sell the animals on, after discovering they do not make great pets. The foxes are unsociable, cannot be house-trained and make a lot of noise at night.

Fennec foxes are not endangered, but experts believe any increase in Chinese imports could lead to populations of the rare animals struggling in the wild.



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