Gray fox

A gray fox, similar to the one that state and federal wildlife officials are looking for after it bit a boy at Rose Canyon Lake campground on Sunday.

Courtesy of Arizona Game and Fish Department

Rose Canyon Lake has reopened following an unsuccessful search for a potentially rabid fox who bit a boy Sunday.

Officials with the Arizona Game and Fish Department asked the Coronado National Forest Monday to close the campground on Mount Lemmon while they searched for the fox, according to a news release.

Game and fish officials helped clear campers from the area and used wildlife calls to try to draw out the fox. On Tuesday and Wednesday, federal wildlife officials set and checked traps.

"If rabid, the fox likely died by now. If alive, it probably left the area," said the department's regional supervisor, Raul Vega. "Public safety comes first, so the closure and search efforts were worthwhile nonetheless."

The boy was playing with his dog, when the fox bit the boy's knees before running away, said Mark Hart, a department spokesman. The child has since been treated for his wounds at a hospital and released.

Since March, three clearly ill, dying or dead foxes have been recovered for rabies testing from the areas of Sweetwater Drive, Picture Rocks and Sabino Canyon.

An animal with rabies may appear disoriented or intoxicate, salivate heavily or appear thirsty, Hart said.

Anyone who believes they've spotted a rabid animal should avoid touching it, and instead call the game and fish department at (623) 236-7201 or the Pima County Health Department at 724-7797.

Contact reporter Caitlin Schmidt at cschmidt@tucson.com or 573-4191


 

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