Animal protection groups urge TikToker to ditch ‘pet’ fox

Animal welfare groups call on Ágúst Beinteinn Árnason to surrender, Gústi Jr, the ‘pet’ arctic fox that Icelandic TikToker has featured in recent videos, some of which have been seen over 120,000 by the time of writing. Vísir was the first to report.

“Gústi the Fox and his ‘owner’ […] have been in the media lately. The fox is kept in what appears to be downtown Reykjavík, on a leash for [Ágúst’s] fun, ”DÝR, the Reykjavík Animal Service, wrote in a Facebook post on Thursday. “It is of course not necessary to explain that this is a criminal offense; foxes are wild animals that cannot be kept without a special permit.

“Judging by the reports, [the fox] appears to be a teddy bear born this spring and so expect him to still be quite cute and smell pretty good. But that will, of course, change in the coming months as the animal approaches sexual maturity. At this point, the fox will start to get restless in captivity.

Screenshot, gustib_1, TikTok

For his part, Ágúst claims that the fox is not at all a young one, but that it has reached full maturity. Moreover, he says that Gústi is not a wild animal at all, but rather was raised among people and that he knows nothing but to live in domesticity. “That’s why he’s so tame,” he told RÚV. It is not entirely clear how Ágúst first obtained the fox; he told reporters he was asked to take the animal and claimed he now leads a good life, safe from hunters. “We saw him as soon as he came to our house,” continued gúst. “It is evident that a fox which acts like it does has been brought up among the people.”

MAST, the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority, insists that videos of the fox clearly show the animal is in distress. Agency employees visited Ágúst at his home to urge that Gústi be returned to Húsdýragarðurinn, Reykjavík Park and Zoo, in the hope that he can be rehabilitated and returned to the wild, as de many cubs that the zoo supports. .

DÝR echoed that call, saying the window at which the fox could have been put back into the wild had most likely closed, but if proper action is not taken the animal will likely need to be euthanized when ‘gúst will no longer be able to keep him. “If there is no room for it at the zoo,” the DÝR post continued, “you can try sending it elsewhere. Húsdýragarðurinn has sent foxes to zoos in Norway and Sweden, where the The species also has a natural home, even though the population is small.The best solution, according to DÝR, would be for Ágúst to deliver the fox without delay to Húsdýragarðurinn so that they can find a suitable home.

At the time of this writing, Ágúst was still “thinking” whether he would abandon the animal. He was surprised, he said, that a fox “who likes to watch Netflix” was such a big deal for the authorities. “We let people put the minks in cages and slaughter them, but we have an ax to fight against the foxes which are tame and do no harm. “

If he decides to return the fox, however, Ágúst has said he will seriously consider asking for a percentage of the proceeds from the sale of park tickets. After all, he said, Gústi is currently the most famous fox in the country and would undoubtedly be a big draw.

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