Video: Zorro dogs seen at the University of Medellín
November 15, 2022
There have been several fox dogs (Cerdocyon thous) identified in various places on the campus of the University of Medellín in Belén Los Alpes.
And it seems that this species that lives in the upper parts of the mountains of the Aburrá Valley, lost its fear of the students and employees of this educational center and tour the headquarters as they please.
These fox dogs have been the sensation for many people, who take the opportunity to take photos or make videos of them, ensuring that they will rarely have the opportunity to have them so close. This is how they have become the most loved neighbors by the entire educational community.
It is normal to see fox dogs on campus
Jullisa Rodríguez, rectory assistant, commented that “I am also a graduate but we never had to observe a dog fox but after the pandemic it became very normal to see them on campus. The first one that I had to see in 2021 in the administrative block, which is one of those below ”.
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Likewise, he commented that they have observed that they like to go through the fountains a lot and that they have even had the opportunity to see their mother with the puppies.
“They are getting very used to us and it gives us an alert to avoid their domestication. In fact, with the last one I saw it seemed beautiful and I spoke to it like a house pet, a situation that should not be done because they are wildlife, ”said Rodríguez.
There is a behavior that catches their attention and that is that in a pandemic they ran out when they saw humans, they came out especially at night, but from one moment to the next it became common to see them anywhere on campusthey have walked alongside students and visitors and do not flee in the presence of people.
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Given this, Gente consulted with Lina María Goes Gaviria, director of sustainability at the University of Medellín, who explained why the presence of this species occurs, ccare, recommendations when having them close and the campaigns in which they currently work so that the campus is part of its natural habitat without affecting its ecosystem environment.
When did your presence increase?
“Since 2016, the university has been favoring the sustainability component under a program called ‘Campus Vivo’ and thanks to the enrichment of biodiversity with reforestation and other environmentally friendly actions, species of mammals, birds and insects arrived, which we did not know about before. of their presence on the ground.
This is how before the pandemic they knew about the presence of fox dogs, but they had not had the opportunity to observe any closely. Nevertheless, when the campus was closed in 2020 they were returning and appropriating the spaces that development has been taking from them and it became a custom to see this species and other types of wildlife.
How is living with these species of flora and fauna?
We have a route that aims at the protection, preservation, restoration of the entire area of biodiversity that the university has and within this we have a flora and fauna inventory project, which allowed us to know that we have 55 species of birds and 22 mammals among which is the dog fox.
What we intend is to update the inventory in order to seek protection actions for the same species and guarantee that each of them can coexist with the community of teachers, students, visitors and administrative staff.
Is the campus benefits for these species?
We are fortunate to have the university campus and what is known as the La Ortega farm lot, which is an area of native forest, very little intervened, but which has some crops such as eucalyptus and that is where they have grown. the main care and reforestation activities to make it the habitat of many of the species that have this ecosystem to nest and search for food.
Precisely for next November 18, the university in the company of the Metropolitan Area of the Aburrá Valley will carry out a reforestation dayin order to carry out new crops and make it a diverse space, that is, with different types of trees, for the increase of new species of fauna.
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What strategies do you have for coexistence with fox dogs?
We have various forms of awareness such as informative traffic breakers, talks, workshops and social work so that the fauna can coexist with the university community.
Likewise, the director of sustainability commented that “we are currently starting a signage process to guarantee your safe passages. we even think ask the environmental authorities for signage outside the campussince we have seen that the fox dogs have left the place and have crossed some roads where many vehicles pass.
We are also looking at ways to use trackers and camera traps on wildlife routes on campus. What will guarantee knowing how and through which places they move to create greater awareness of these areas.
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What are your favorite points for fox dogs?
The parking area, the administrative block and the field are some of the favorite places for these species. Songbirds, House Sparrows, Parrots, Robins, Sparrowhawks, Hummingbirds, Blackbirds and Mockingbirdsare some birds that can be seen more easily.
The fox dogs have been seen in the administrative block, near the field and next to the fountains. They even come down with their young to hunt for food.
Recommendations when observing fox dogs in an urban area?
Although they try not to have any contact with these species, on one occasion they were trapped in a channel through which rainwater circulates. They were unable to get out on their own due to heavy downpours and an intervention was required to get them out.
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What led to the process of a rescue brigade, not only for fox dogs, but for all the species of fauna and flora that we have.
In addition, Lina María Goes commented that they work hard on the proper management of waste, so that they find leftovers in the garbage cans. They also call for no one to give them food because it could affect their environment.
What other species have been sighted on the U of M campus?
during sightings They have been able to observe 55 different kinds of birds, 19 mammals and some insects and amphibians. Among the registered fauna, fox dogs, opossums, squirrels, weasels, savannah rabbits, wild mice and an endemic species of bat of which there was no record in the city’s Environment Secretariat stand out.
Also have found migratory birds, about 17 types who occupy the campus for a few seasons as a place of passage and several months later take flight to their destination.
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By: Alexis Carrillo Puerta
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Video: Zorro dogs seen at the University of Medellín
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