Romeo joined the Big Pack in the Sky on December 18th, 2020.
He was assisted at 14 years old due to old age/quality of life.
Romeo was born in April of 2006, and arrived at Wild Spirit in September of 2008. He was found on the side of a road when he was around two months old. Tragically, his mother had been hit by a car and killed. A kind woman who saw the poor little kit took him home, cared for him, and did the best she could to give him a good life. However, she quickly realized how much work it would take to raise a baby fox, and also learned that they smell like skunks! She called the Department of National Resources (DNR) to see if they would take over Romeo’s care.
The DNR took care of Romeo until they thought he was old enough to be released into a national park. Unfortunately, Romeo had become so comfortable with humans, he kept approaching people at the picnic grounds. The DNR knew this would make his survival much more difficult, and they felt it was unlikely he could ever fully re-assimilate to the wild. They recaptured Romeo and contacted Fejervary Children’s Zoo in Iowa. Romeo was moved to his new home at the zoo where he lived next door to four wolves.
When Romeo was around two years old, the Fejervary Zoo began having trouble with funding and community support. With a plan to relocate their exotic animals, they called Wild Spirit. The zoo asked if we had a place for the three remaining wolves who lived next to Romeo and were now looking for a new home.
We agreed to take the three older wolves Akela, Brutus II and Navar. When our staff arrived at the zoo, they also met Romeo and quickly fell in love with the charming little fox. Considering that the zoo was experiencing funding issues, we offered to take Romeo if he ever needed a place to go. Sadly, the zoo eventually had to close completely, so they called Wild Spirit and asked us if we still wanted to give Romeo a home. Of course, we did!
Welcoming Romeo to Wild Spirit took some time. First, we had to get a special educational animal license to qualify to be Romeo’s new home. We also wanted an enclosure that would fit his unique habitat needs. We spent the summer building a beautiful custom fox habitat and waiting for our license to be finalized. All our volunteers and many of our supporters came together to create a beautiful space complete with a fountain, stream and custom mural! Finally, Romeo was escorted to New Mexico by his zoo friends and welcomed into his new home, where he would live across from his old neighbors, the pack of wolves. To everyone’s amazement, Romeo’s old friends ran to their fence line to greet him and howl a welcoming song.
Romeo was a special fellow that became an iconic part of Wild Spirit. Returning guests, every year, still tell stories about the loveable and charismatic Romeo, who won their hearts in the fraction of a second! For Caretakers on site, he was somewhat of a therapist and emotional rock; his warmth and affection helped us through even the most difficult of times. From his first day to his last, he fully embodied his name–our little Romeo.
Romeo was one of our most beloved rescues, because of his loving and social personality. He adored people and attention of all kinds, but would not hesitate to tell you when he had enough.
Romeo didn’t have a companion for the majority of his life at Wild Spirit, as would be the case in the wild. Foxes spend most of their lives living alone, aside from breeding season. Still, we made sure he received lots of attention from our Caretakers (he wouldn’t have it any other way). Near the end of his life, he did “adopt” two fox kits: River and Rumi. We hoped he would pass on a bit of his magic to the next generation, but as we figured, Romeo was a unique soul.
Likes & Dislikes
Romeo’s diet was more diverse than our other rescues. He loved eggs, peaches, and apples. He liked to play hide and seek, and when very close with someone, he would even ask for belly rubs!
Romeo didn’t like wolves and wolfdogs (aside from his Zoo friends)! If one of our rescues was walking past his habitat, he would puff up his fur, show his teeth and scream at them.