Black fox found dead

A black fox has been found dead in a field, just weeks after one was spotted in a Lancashire graveyard.

A woman who lives on a farm in Heapey, near Chorley, contacted the Evening Post to say she had found the dead young creature in her field last week.

It follows the sighting of a black fox – thought to be the first of its kind seen in this country – in a church yard in Chorley at the beginning of the month.

The woman, who did not wish to be named, said: "I think it might have starved or I suppose it could have been poisoned – it certainly hadn't been shot – or it could've been ill.

"Someone else saw it alive in the field where I found it and said it looked very thin.

"If it was fit and alert then it wouldn't have been hanging around to let people take pictures.

"It was obviously fairly young and was quite close to the road."

The woman kept hold of the fox's body, which had decomposed except for the tail, in case the Wildlife Trust wanted to investigate.

However, officers told her there was nothing more they could do and the fox's colour was likely to have been down to a genetic defect.

Kevin Hehir, 48, from Ribbleton in Preston, spotted the animal on September 8 while he was out walking and managed to take pictures and record footage.

He said: "What a shame. At the time it looked weary and like it was on its last legs. I'm pleased that I managed to get a picture of it."

Like other black animals, the black fox is said to be linked to doom and disaster and the sighting provoked much reaction from readers.

However, the farmer added: "Far from being unlucky for me, it brought the sunshine and dry weather for the harvest."

Black foxes can often be seen in Europe and North America but are not thought to be native to the UK.

David Dunlop, Lancashire Wildlife Trust conservation officer, said: "I imagine it's probably the same one because it's very rare.

"I'm assuming it had been ill like a lot of animals in the wild."

>> Black fox spotted for first time (with video)