Jinca, the gray fox featured in the QUEST TV’s “Cool Critters” segment, arrived at the Lindsay Wildlife Museum in 1996 with a broken back and a fractured leg. After going through months of rehabilitation at the Lindsay, he was too habituated to humans to be released back into the wild. So, he lived out the rest of his long life as an “animal ambassador” at the museum.
By the time we shot our story with Jinca and Animal Keeper, Jason Pfau, the fox was elderly and arthritic. Pfau told us that because his front shoulders and joints get stiff and he often appears to be in pain, the exercise that the keepers do with the ball, food and rock structures are critically important to his physical and mental health.
“Accepting this training that we’ve given him is a choice for him, it gives him a chance to make decisions in his life the way he would out in the wild,” says Pfau. “And also it gives us a chance to be able to work with him further, to work with him closely, to get a good look at his ears. His eyes. His fur.”
Sadly, Jinca passed away not long after we taped our story at the Lindsay Wildlife Museum. But in February 2011, the museum welcomed a new handsome, young gray fox – as yet to be named. He was found as an abandoned pup in a barn in Humboldt county. He had been raised inappropriately by someone and then taken to a rehabilitation facility.The gray fox can be seen by the public daily along with hundreds of other wonderful “animal ambassadors” at the Lindsay Wildlife Museum.