Dramatic rescue as fox scooped out of Water of Leith after getting stuck on washed up rubbish

The fox, stuck on rubbish on the Water of Leith (Photo: Jim Jarvie)
The fox, stuck on rubbish on the Water of Leith (Photo: Jim Jarvie)
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A fox was dramatically rescued from debris floating in the Water of Leith by the fire service and SSPCA rescuers.

The animal, which had gotten stuck on the flotsam collected in the basin, was lying on logs before the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service arrived.

The dramatic scene as rescuers followed the fox after it jumped into the water (Photo: Jim Jarvie)

The dramatic scene as rescuers followed the fox after it jumped into the water (Photo: Jim Jarvie)

Eyewitnesses described how rescuers took to a boat to save the fox, which jumped off the debris and began to swim away before being caught in a net.

Jim Jarvie, along with other residents' groups, set up a petition to ensure the river was cleaned, and said he had been assured the clean-up will take place this week.

He added he was worried that more incidents of this sort would happen and about children trying to get footballs out of the rubbish.

Dr Jarvie said: "The City of Edinburgh Council have written to us to say the rubbish will be cleaned up this week and they have to do it. Water of Leith have not been receptive in the slightest.

Rescuers try to save the fox after it tried to escape (Photo: Jim Jarvie)

Rescuers try to save the fox after it tried to escape (Photo: Jim Jarvie)

"We have got residents complaining about the smell and seeing children kicking footballs on to it as well. We are seeing this not only as an environmental disaster but a humanitarian one as well."

The debris collected at the basin, owned by Water of Leith 2000, following the flooding in late June, which saw a much larger amount of rubbish pushed downstream by the floodwater.

"We have got a strategy if it isn't cleaned up this week," said Mr Jarvie.

"We want to focus on the positives. This has been an issue for years but not quite a serious until the recent floods. We want to get this cleaned up and have a regular clean up schedule with residents monitoring and we want to be helpful and we want to be involved.

The fox which was stuck on debris in the Water of Leith (Photo: Jim Jarvie)

The fox which was stuck on debris in the Water of Leith (Photo: Jim Jarvie)

"If they don't take action there will have to be consequences."

Scottish SPCA animal rescue officer Stephanie Grant said: “We were called to a fox which had been trapped in debris under Victoria Bridge in Leith. After a speedy response from Scottish Fire and Rescue, we were able to rescue the little fox thanks to their help.

“The fox doesn’t seem to have any serious injuries but is being taken to our wildlife centre in Fishcross where he will be fully assessed and released. The water was heavily littered with rubbish and this incident shows exactly how dangerous litter can be to wildlife.

She added: “It is imperative that the Scottish public properly dispose of their rubbish. This fox was lucky to have been rescued but many animals are seriously injured, or worse, as a result of improperly discarded waste.

“If you discover an animal in distress please contact our animal helpline on 03000 999 999.”

A spokesman for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said: “The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service was alerted at 10.04am on Monday, July 15 to reports of an animal in distress on the Water of Leith in Edinburgh.

“Operations Control mobilised a specialist water rescue team to the area where crews assisted partners from the SSPCA in rescuing a fox from floating debris.

“The animal is now in the care of the SSPCA. Crews left the scene after ensuring the area was made safe.”

Water of Leith 2000 were contacted for comment.