Watchful eye as fox cubs face new risks
It is one of five cubs born within 2km from Dublin's O'Connell Street that will soon leave their den to go it alone.
In April, the Irish Independent first reported on the birth of the cubs not far from Dublin city centre.
All have survived and can be seen out sunning themselves in a green space near their Dublin 1 home.
"The cubs are now spending more and more time away above ground and away from the den. Soon they will be adults," wildlife photographer Paul Hughes, who has been monitoring the cubs since their birth on April 1, said.
However, there growing confidence brings with it new dangers.
"Where before only the parent foxes were visible, now there are five more foxes around the den, which inevitably means more people will know about them," he added.
"They're particularly scared of dogs, but the biggest hazard they face is being run over by cars in the location they are in now."
But go it alone they must as within weeks their mother will banish them from their home.
"The foxes have to find their own territories. The same vixen had five cubs last year which I watched her chase away when they became young adults. It was quite upsetting. I heard one cub crying in the area a few hours later. I find with foxes you can sense their feelings and connect with them emotionally the way people do with their dogs," he said.
The Dublin foxes are rapidly becoming global stars through being featured on the Donaghmede man's website, www.wildirishswan.com.