A determined 3-month-old red fox named Asia is overcoming a debilitating birth defect with the help of her new, permanent home at the Kentucky Wildlife Center.
After discovering Asia in Boone County, Ky., a couple noticed she wasn’t using her back legs and alerted Sam Opp, the wildlife center’s director. Opp said the defect would likely have prevented Asia from providing for or protecting herself, which prevents her from being an animal the center can safely release to the wild.
“Even if she walks again, she’ll probably never be to the point where she can hunt, flee from danger, or anything like that,” Opp told LEX 18.
But the baby fox‘s physical setbacks haven’t stopped her from living her life to the fullest now.
“You would never know she can’t use those back legs,” Asia’s handler, PK Blankenship, told FOX 56. “She thinks she’s a regular fox. She pounces like a regular fox. She jumps like a regular fox. She crawls over you like a regular fox.”
In addition to receiving daily physical therapy, Asia is learning how to use a customized wheelchair.
“Sometimes it’s funny,” Blankenship said. “We put her in it, and she’s like a NASCAR race driver. She takes off.”
She also has bad days and is not always in the mood to participate in her therapy. Understanding that she is a wild animal, Asia’s caretakers accommodate her occasional need for “me” time.
But her legs are getting stronger. She can now stand on her own. Staff members see a bright future for the tiny fox and hope that Asia will eventually build enough muscle to walk unassisted.