Foxes Live: Wild in the City, airing across three nights, aims to take UK census of the animals involving interactive website
Channel 4 will do for foxes what Springwatch did for blue tits with a live natural history show that promises the biggest ever nationwide study into urban foxes in the UK.
Foxes Live: Wild in the City will air across three nights on Channel 4 and aims to give viewers a “fox eye view of our cities” with cutting-edge technology and user-generated content.
Broadcasting live from London’s Battersea power station it will presented by veterinary expert Mark Evans, from Channel 4’s Inside Nature’s Giants, and Four Rooms host Anita Rani.
CCTV cameras, GPS tags and “mini fox cams” will be used to trace the animals and build up a UK fox census, with between 30,000 and 40,000 foxes believed to be living in cities and up to 250,000 in the countryside.
Evans said: “Foxes are an enigma. We know so very little about what foxes get up to in our cities. Everyone’s seen one. Everyone has an opinion. There are few wild animals that trigger such heated debate.”
Launching on 30 April Foxes Live will return with two more live shows the following week at a time of year when vixens are giving birth and cubs are starting to emerge from their dens.
Channel 4 specialist factual commissioning editor Sara Ramsden described it as “everything you ever wanted to know about foxes but were afraid to ask”.
“We’ll find out why vixens screech at night during the mating season, all about fox cub toilet habits, just why foxes leave that terrible smell in your garden, the role of the father in a fox family and just how we can learn to live in close harmony with this most beautiful wild animal,” added Ramsden.
The programme will run alongside an interactive website where viewers can map where they have seen foxes and upload their pictures and videos, and will also feature “live trapping” and “poo collection” to given an insight into the animals’ habits.
Channel 4 multi-platform commissioning editor Kate Quilton said the show would look to build on the success of C4’s Hippo: Wild Feast Live.
“This is natural history in a new way,” she added. “With the help of the audience, we can use new technologies across platforms to unlock new stories.”