Desert fox raids AUC campus

By Mona Elkalban and Marley Gibbons

Laila Shameel

This fox caused widescale panic on campus. Photo: Laila Shameel

Laila Shameel was working in her office this morning when she heard what sounded like a cat scratching at her window. She turned to investigate, and saw a fox.

Shameel, the assistant director of the Jameel MBA program, was stunned. But before she called security, she took a few seconds to snap a photo of the furry intruder with her mobile phone.

The fox ran loose around the grounds of the School of Business, Economics and Communication this morning, scaring students and faculty, while managing to evade dozens of security guards sent to chase it down.

“The fox was running outside in the parking, hit the wire gate between the parking and the inner campus gate, and then ran away,” said security guard Mahmoud Abo El Magd Ali.

Security sent out a message for people on the second floor of the BEC to stay inside their offices. Two security guards said they tracked the fox to a BEC computer lab and tried to capture him. 

“We had an open box to put the fox in, but it was hard to catch due to the panic of the students, and that the fox was standing outside the window,” said Ibrahim, one of the guards.

Students said the quick brown fox jumped over many a barrier.

“He passed in front of us quickly,” said May Emad, a mass communications student. “I just saw him next to the SSE and he ran towards the administration.”

“The fox was light brown, with a fat tail at the end,” said her friend, Heba Gheramy.

“I did not see the fox, but if I saw it, I think that I would not come to college again,” said Reham Nagib, a marketing student.

Construction workers, though, were unfazed.

“Even if there were lions on campus, we will keep working,” said Mostafa Kamel, a construction worker in the BEC building.

Shameel said she was shaken by the intrusion. “I used to open my window when the air conditioning was too cold, but now I will never open my window,” she said.

Additional reporting by Amal Ahmed, Heba Abdul Shahid, Mohammed Nessem, and Donia Mazen 



Filed under AUC Move, Faculty, Student Life

31 responses to “Desert fox raids AUC campus

  1. Abdelrahman

    Interesting…so if a fox can get in, anybody can…. so we are really not safe in that campus anymore!

  2. Yasmine

    The article is titled poorly. We INVADED the animal’s habitat, it did not “raid” OUR campus. They should have left it alone.

  3. Lamia

    I think we invaded their place.. i bet thousands of creatures lives in the tunnels underneath the campus that takes the trucks to the other side of the campus. May be if there is a fox, there might be a lot more

  4. lina Bamya /year 70

    AUC invaded the desert …!!! With the desert comes its inhabitants too. The fox wanted to get to know the new neighbours .Only natural he was there before ! AUCians should learn to live with nature .

  5. Jonah

    Missed opportunity for headline:
    The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy campus

  6. Richard Hoath

    The reactions described in this article are utterly outrageous and inappropriate. The Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) is a successful and opportunistic species that lives alongside humans in urban environments across much of its huge range. My uncle has a fox’s earth beneath is garden shed in suburban Bristol and welcomes them. The fox poses no greater threat or danger to us than the cats on Old Campus – indeed, given the reports of rats and mice on campus it should be welcomed. Congratulations Lamia, Yasmine and Lina on your far, far more mature, considered and accurate responses.

  7. Richard Hoath

    In the interests of sanity and further to my previous comment the website provides accurate information on anyone still concerned about foxes on campus.

  8. Maha Khalil


    OK, now seriously, everybody who is quoted in this article (except the wise worker ) needs to just chill out!

    I was intending to strongly oppose the article but several people have already done the job quite well, and I congratulate and thank them. I will say though that this article should never have been published in the Caravan. It is extremely biased, immature and supports the negative attitude people in this part of the world have towards wildlife. Caravan, what were you thinking? This is not a tabloid.

  9. Heba

    It is a just an animal for God’s sake..
    Did anyone at least confirmed the animal is dangerous before doing all this hassle?

  10. Yasmine Sourour

    Did the security guards checked his ID before he enters the AUC ????

  11. he was looking for the regestration dipartment

  12. Walid Ghali

    What is the Egyptian Fox? I encourage all to go and read about this kind of animals in Egypt to know if it is dangerous or not. also, you have to know that many people live here long time ago and we are not the first.

  13. Obviously the guards forgot to ask for the fox’ student ID upon entrance…

  14. Noha Maarouf

    poor natural residents of the Egyptian Saharah..we are sorry to invade your natural habitat, but I can’t help running if I meet any of you..I wish we could go back to our natural habitat in Tahrir, but this is impossible please , despite our invasion and occupation will have to move’s the Midle East after all.

  15. Jo

    will they be joining us for classes?
    hey, the more the merrier…

  16. Omar Madkour

    in response to all those who are arguing in favor of the fox: THIS IS NOT A FREAKIN ZOO… even in a zoo if you see a fox roaming around, you won’t stand still.. you would run.. and please dont tell me you would ask about the species first to know whether to run or go feed it..
    reading about Egyptian fox won’t help me get over the fact that i pay around a 100,000LE to take a bus ride that lasts for an hour and a half to come to the desert, and guess what, i find a fox…
    if the AUC moved us to the desert, then they have to provide more security.. the security guards were chasing the fox with a “box”!!!! what were they thinkin?! the fox will jump in by itself..
    responding to Walid Ghali, many (not all) of the those who live in the desert – be it 6Oct. or New Cairo – have dogs to gurad their houses… and the ones who don’t have dogs, if they find a fox standing next to their cars and houses, they don’t pat it and carry on with their day… i bet if u see a fox passing next to you “on campus”, you won’t be as cool as you sound..

  17. Aya

    At least the fox is big enough to be seen before we can run away from it + not all foxes are dangerous. however the snakes are!!!!
    btw the internet isnt always working cuz rats are eating the cables:)

  18. Aly

    Hey.. I live in the Cairo Alexandria Desert Road area(on the other side of cairo.) We have foxes all the time… but I can tell you one thing, they are more afraid of you than you are afraid of them. You guys are thinking of wolves, not foxes. Foxes are tiny, and pretty much harmless.

  19. Tara

    I just wanted to ask a few questions that I think everyone who is afraid of the “big, bad” FOX should consider.
    1) Did it occur to any of you that the wildlife in the area which WE invaded is confused by these sudden and huge buildings that weren’t there before?
    2) Did it occur to you that they are probably more freaked out than you are?
    3) Did you think of at least doing some basic research to find out what animals you SHOULD and SHOULDN’T be afraid of?
    4) Even if you can’t combat your fear, which is fine, did it occur to you that if you SLOWLY back off, the fox isn’t going to do anything at all?
    And finally,
    5) Did it ever occur to you that the main reason the fox was there was because of the mice??

    I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have reservations or even fears, considering that fears are irrational, but you should try to do what’s in your power to minimize them. After all, aren’t we supposed to be the most intelligent and intellectual of all animals??

  20. Gina


    With admission numbers for “foreign students” down a tad, one might think that AUC would welcome any prospective candidates on campus.
    Not, so.
    Ask one uninvited visitor who recently tried to peruse the site and its amenities,
    Our neighbor, a native to the area – the fast, the pretty, the smart, the intrepid, the sly desert fox – aka the Fennec, Fennec Fox, Vulpes Zerda

    Said creature managed the unthinkable, s/he outfoxed our brave men in uniform, failed to apply for a visitor’s pass, and failed to enter through the appropriate gate – the visitor’s gate – and instead opted to knock directly on the doors of BEC.
    This was a sly fox indeed – rather than trying to “declare at the gate” – this fox knew it wanted a degree in business – or perhaps in communication – so as a focused applicant, it headed straight for the office of Laila Shameel, BEC, in hopes of more material.

    To its dismay it was not welcomed with open arms, rather found itself excluded, discriminated against, and chased out – but not without putting up somewhat of a show.

    According to sources, fourteen guards – at least – participated in the expulsion of the subject before it could enroll.

    So what do we make of this? How do we react to this creature after s/he managed the impossible:
    It succeeded in breaching the impermeability of the perimeter walls of the AUC fortress, and transgress against our territorial integrity.
    It entered without proof of identity, without advance notice or application – Without signing up for an informational tour.
    In other words: it waltzed right in – only to be given a cold shoulder.

    I say we salute and honor its bravery, reward its curiosity and show good neighborly spirit by paying homage to its deed and by capturing its spirit and image –
    by instituting what AUC has long lacked: an AUC mascot

    Let’s name him/her, put him and his paw-print (which, by the way, is way smaller than our environmental footprint) on university T-shirts, mugs, scarves and much more.

    In support of the cause “Name the Fox – Create our Mascot” , why not submit your proposals and ideas for its name, image and various uses.

    For those who need inspiration – without plagiarizing – look at the many websites of US colleges and universities and do a comparative study of animals used in university logos, promotional materials, sports teams’ uniforms, etc. and you may find our neighbor, the desert fox, more than worthy of “mascot-dom, mascot-hood, mascot-whatever”

    Let’s welcome our neighbors – at least as visitors to our campus.

    As we are all told: keep a sense of humor.

  21. Nisreen

    I can’t believe the responses am reading. Common sense states we should have respect for mother nature and the wildlife that creates the perfect balance to our environment. Without it, chaos
    will overcome.

    I read that the fox will be poisoned!! The fences around campus will be poisoned!! how outrageous!! First, They (not me) invade his natural habitat and now (they) want to kill it. I am utterly against it and will try to contact the Animal Rights Organization which I hope still exists!?

  22. Ali Fahmi

    I would like to respond to Omar Madkour’s comment.
    Consider being exposed to nature a priviledge not every 100,000 LE education offers!
    WE are the ones that invaded THEIR home. Are you even aware of the natural protectorate less than a kilometer away from campus?
    And even if you were in a zoo (which you are anyway on campus) or out there in the wild and you encounter a fox, running away won’t do you any good. You’re not on his menu, and if you were, he would outrun you anytime.
    Why don’t you get hold of Richard Hoath’s “A Field Guide to the Mammals of Egypt”, and as Walid Ghali suggested, maybe you should read a bit about them. While you’re at it, look at snakes too. Oh no, consulting another book requires too much work, and it’s not part of my 100,000 LE education!

  23. Maha Khalil

    Response to Omar Madkour:

    Omar, the panicky responses of the people who saw the fox on campus are natural – true – but only for two reasons: 1) they don’t really know anything about it, and 2) it has been carved in their memories from back in childhood days that foxes are cumming, deceitful, even evil animals. And again, it is true that people who see a fox in a public place will not be pleased as you say, but that is also due to ignorance. These foxes are not more dangerous than your average street cat – and people need to understand that putting out poison for the foxes would also kill the kestrels and you will eventually have nothing to get rid of the mice and rats for you. The natural ecosystem which AUC promised to preserve despite the new campus could be seriously upset. And, sorry, but I don’t see any sensible connection between the difficulties and expenses of the new campus and your finding a fox on it!!

    Now that you know the fox is totally harmless, why does it still upset you to see it around?

  24. Maha Khalil

    You do not have to love the fox if you find that so difficult. But we should all be able to accept it as part of our natural environment…

  25. Maha Khalil

    I have personally been in a fox pen, yes, a small, closed space, with an adult, hand- reared silver fox before and was lucky enough to touch it and play with it. It was a delightful experience! Of course, in the “wild”, foxes will run away if you try to approach them…

  26. Aly

    In response to Gina:

    I really enjoyed reading your interpretation of what happened.. and I completely agree about the mascot thing.. very good idea..

    I hope that AUC does not go through with the poisoned fence..

  27. Yasser Shaaban

    SFAE at campus? you guys think that this poor fox can harm you? it’s such a beautiful creature who’s a zillion times more scared of you .. than you are of him/her/it

  28. Gina,

    I love the Mascot idea, and your piece overall. This is right on, we should call it “Foxawi”:)

  29. I hope everyone has seen the Biology Club’s posters around campus regarding the fox.

    I am the President of the Biology Club, and if anyone needs to know more details about the campaign, my email is or
    Better still, you could contact our club faculty advisor, Mr. Richard Hoath

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