The Arizona Game and Fish Department recommended that the Coronado National Forest re-open Rose Canyon Lake campground on Mount Lemmon on Thursday.
A 12-year-old boy was bitten by a rabid fox while playing with his dog at the campground on Sunday. The boy was treated for a knee injury and rabies before being released from the hospital. The fox ran off into the forest.
AZGFD recommended the campground closure to the Coronado National Forest on Monday, when they helped clear campers from the area and searched for the fox unsuccessfully using wildlife calls, according to an AZGFD news release. Federal wildlife officials set and checked traps there Tuesday and Wednesday.
"If rabid, the fox likely died by now. If alive, it probably left the area," said Regional Supervisor Raul Vega. "Public safety comes first, so the closure and search efforts were worthwhile nonetheless."
Clearly ill, dying or dead foxes have been recovered for rabies testing four times this year in the Tucson area, the release stated. Two tested positive for rabies.
“Avoid contact with and don’t approach wildlife that is behaving abnormally or appears to be ill. If you believe that you see a rabid animal, call AZGFD at 1-623-236-7201 or the Pima County Health Department at 520-724-7797 immediately,” said Regional Supervisor Raul Vega of Game and Fish in Tucson. “In addition, avoid touching any dead wildlife that you may find, and keep your pets away from them as well.”