A fox living on the campus grounds of Trinity College Dublin (TCD) has become a new mother to five fox cubs.
The Irish Times reports that the fox named Sam gave birth in the provost’s garden under the prefabs on the university campus.
It comes just a year after she was found on the street, emaciated and mange-ridden.
Video footage was taken of mother and cubs by student Michael Gilna, who is staying in dormitories overlooking where Sam gave birth.
Staff and students are delighted and relieved over the new arrivals, according to TCD zoologist Collie Ennis.
“We didn’t know she had successfully given birth because we didn’t know how it would go,” Mr Ennis said.
“It’s great for us all. We look forward to the five of them thriving and surviving.”
Exciting news we've all been waiting on... the fox cubs have arrived, five we think. Congrats #TrinityFox🦊 Sam & Prince 🎉🥳🎊. Huge thank you to student, Michael Gilna for sharing this amazing video with us. pic.twitter.com/XGiGa92bQ8
— Trinity College Dublin (@tcddublin) April 20, 2021
The happy turn of events comes after Sam was hit by a bus and survived, and had bad mange - which can be deadly in foxes - cured by antibiotics placed into her meat.
Mr Ennis said the wait for the arrival of the cubs had been “nerve-wracking”.
“It’s wonderful news. It’s always nerve-wracking. Nature can be quite cruel. She shouldn’t even be with us. We are delighted in the college. It will lift everybody’s spirt because it has been a very long year.
“We are going to invest in more dog biscuits and cooked chicken for the cubs,” he added.
Although college staff are providing Sam with dog biscuits and cooked chicken, her partner and the father of the five cubs, Prince, has been regularly spotted bringing back dead pigeons and magpies to the den.
Sam previously made headlines when she was spotted crossing a deserted Grafton Street last spring and was also photographed with a bird in her mouth in Temple Bar.