Some sneaky suspect has made off with Fergus the Fox, a favourite resident of the Beaver Lodge Lands.
The driftwood sculpture, made by Campbell River artist Alex Witcombe of Drifted Creations, disappeared from the community forest sometime around midday on May 2.
Witcombe quickly took to social media, sending a message on Instagram to spread word that people should keep an eye out for Fergus. A day later the message already had more than 300 likes, with many expressing sadness, disappointment and anger at the fact that the fox had gone missing.
“We were doing good out there until someone came along and took him,” Witcombe said.
Finding Fergus at all can be tough enough, Witcombe said, even when people specifically set out in search of him. Though the fox is a piece of public art, he was not exactly propped on his log out in the open for all to see. In the time since Witcombe placed his piece in the Beaver Lodge Lands, many visitors, according to Facebook posts, have spent hours trying to find Fergus along the trails, some without any luck.
The fox had become quite popular in the short time that he had been in the woods.
“Kids love going to say hi to him,” Witcombe said.
The fox, who measures a little over a metre in length, had only been installed at the Beaver Lodge Lands back in early January.
In recent years, Witcombe has produced several pieces of public art for the community, but Fergus was a relatively new one.
Driftwood is still a new medium for Witcombe, who had worked primarily on murals until he started experimenting with found pieces of wood in 2016.
“It’s just super fun fun to work with,” he said. “The main challenge is finding the right pieces.”
Witcombe said he likes the challenge of turning the pieces of wood into new creations. So far, along with Fergus, he has constructed many creations from driftwood, especially other creatures such as dogs, birds of prey, mammoths, dinosaurs, even aliens. He doesn’t have a lot of criteria when he is looking for pieces of wood to use but does keep his eyes peeled for one important element.
“Just character — the gnarlier the better,” he added.
For now, he and others in the community will be keeping a lookout for a few particular pieces of driftwood, as Fergus’s fans have made it clear how much they miss him and hope he will be returned soon.
“People are pretty sad,” Witcombe said.