People tuning into BBC Radio 4 on Thursday morning were left outraged after comments made by DJ Paul Gambaccini regarding foxes.
Gambaccini, known as Gambo, complained that he had to break up urban foxes mating outside his home because of the ‘shocking’ noise they make.
The radio presenter, 74, compared the noise to the ‘sound of children being tortured,’ adding that urban foxes had peed on his morning newspaper.
He said: ‘I moved into a conservation area in Kennington, London about a year ago. We were greeted quickly, once or twice a week, by [the sound of foxes mating].
‘It’s the sound of children being tortured. I’m sorry. It’s really shocking, no matter how times you’ve been woken up by it – it’s still really bad news.’
Urban foxes can be spotted in several areas of London, with over 10,000 of them living in built-up areas according to figures published by the London Wildlife Trust.
‘One night it got so bad that my husband had to run out and break them up. I had to do the same the following night, and chase them away. They operate with impunity and they fight sometimes – it’s a very noisy affair.’
When asked whether the urban foxes had damaged his property, Gambaccini recalled the morning he woke up to find his copy of the Financial Times had been urinated on.
However, the segment didn’t go over well with Radio 4 listeners.
Posting on X, user Elizabeth said: ‘Is April Fool’s Day early this year? Is Paul Gambaccini’s irritation at the sound of nocturnal foxes is quite as newsworthy as you think?’
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Another listener, Ruth, posted: ‘Did one of them just bump into Paul Gambaccini in the lift while he was going on about this and think a little feature was a good idea? It isn’t!’
Angie, also tuning in, hit back: ‘If Paul Gambaccini doesn’t want to listen to wild animals doing what wild animals do, perhaps he shouldn’t have moved to a conservation area.’
The high-pitched wails made foxes are usually heard in winter are often made by vixens (female foxes) as they try to summon a mate.
Trevor Williams, spokesperson for The Fox Project, told the PA news agency: ‘Most people are perfectly happy to live with foxes around because they’re not a problem by and large.
‘Foxes are not going to bring attention to themselves if they possibly can avoid it.’
The population of urban foxes in London has apparently stayed steady since the 1970s, with the population controlled by availability of space, available food, and the impact on the population by humans.
Gambaccini, who was born in New York City, made his name in the UK as a presenter on Radio 1 before transitioning over to Radio 2, Radio 4, and Classic FM.
Most recently he began presenting on Greatest Hits Radio – he was inducted in the Radio Academy Hall of Fame back in 2005 after several decades of working on the air.
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