Photo supplied by Vergelegen wine estate.
The playful Cape fox family near their burrow. Photo supplied by Vergelegen wine estate.
  • Owners of the Vergelegen wine estate in Somerset West, Cape Town, were treated to a rare sight as new residents - a family of adorable Cape foxes have moved in and now frolic in their backyard.
  • The Cape fox is notoriously known for being shy, especially in urban areas.
  • But thanks to South Africa’s nationwide lockdown nature is bouncing back. 
  • For more stories go to the Business Insider South Africa homepage

Owners of the Vergelegen wine estate in Somerset West, Cape Town, were treated to a rare sight as new residents - a family of adorable Cape foxes - moved in and now frolic in their backyard.

The Cape fox, Vulpes chama, is notoriously known for being shy, especially in urban areas, but thanks to South Africa’s nationwide lockdown nature is bouncing back as the streets run quiet.

Vergelegen staff were delighted to see that an entire family – two adults and three pups - have moved in during lockdown right on the doorstep of their resident horticulturist, Richard Arm’s, home on the estate.

Photo supplied by Vergelegen wine estate.
The playful Cape fox family near their burrow. Photo supplied by Vergelegen wine estate.
Photo supplied by Vergelegen wine estate.
The playful Cape fox family near their burrow. Photo supplied by Vergelegen wine estate.

While almost a third of the world has gone into lockdown, animals have taken the disruption as an opportunity to explore. Some of the animal reports (like the dolphins in Venice) turned out to be false, so have a critical eye when you see them on social media.

See also: Photos show wild animals roaming empty streets as coronavirus lockdowns keep humans inside

South Africans are also coming up with all sorts of innovative ways of experiencing nature from the comfort of their homes - from bird spotting to virtual safaris.

 Photo supplied by Vergelegen wine estate.
The hilltop winery at Vergelegen estate, of which 1900 hectares have been declared a private nature reserve. Photo supplied by Vergelegen wine estate.

Vergelegen wine estate in Somerset West has 1,900 hectares promulgated as a private nature reserve with the same protected status as the Kruger National Park, and is accordingly sharing heart-warming news of young indigenous animals that are flourishing on the farm.

Having just completed one of South Africa’s largest alien plant clearing projects, the estate has seen a bounce back of rare and endangered plants and grasslands as well as numerous birds and mammals such as Cape leopard, caracal, honey badger, grey rhebok and spotted genet returning to the estate and being spotted on a regular basis.  

“While we cannot open our gates to visitors at present, we are delighted to share this positive news.  Connecting in some way with nature seems more important now than ever,” said Wayne Coetzer, Vergelegen CEO.  

Vergelegen was acquired by Anglo American in 1987 and has been running an extensive programme to restore the 320-year-old estate. Last year, it was judged the best wine estate on the continent, and named a Western Cape provincial heritage site.

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