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Two Tower of London ravens eaten by a fox

PUBLISHED: 17:20 28 October 2013 | UPDATED: 17:20 28 October 2013

A raven called Merlin in  the Tower of London gardens.

A raven called Merlin in the Tower of London gardens.

Archant

Two of the Tower of London’s prize ravens donated for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee have been eaten by a fox.

An inquiry was launched after two of the eight ravens – known as the “guardians of the Tower” – were savaged in the grounds.

Legend has it that the Tower will fall if six ravens ever leave the fortress, with two extra birds always kept there in case of an emergency.

According to the myth, it was King Charles II who first insisted six ravens must remain there to safeguard his realm – and the tradition has remained in tact since.

The two ravens who met their end at the Tower – called Jubilee and Gripp – had called it home for a year since they were donated during 2012’s Jubilee celebrations.

Despite the secure facilities available for them, they were snatched by a cunning fox before they were caged for the night in May.

A spokeswoman for the charity Historic Royal Palaces, which runs the Tower, said: “Raven deaths at the Tower are not common, with many ravens living long healthy lives here.

“Due to foxes, a natural raven predator, the ravens are put to bed each evening in secure enclosures to minimise risks. Sadly, a fox captured two of the ravens before they were put to bed.

“We take the welfare of the ravens seriously and have been reviewing our current pest control measures,” she added.

As much as £4,000 is spent on the birds’ upkeep each year, with many of the Tower’s ravens reaching their mid-20s. Wild ravens have a lower life expectancy of between 12 and 20 years.

Plans for new cages have been drawn up since the birds met their ends in a bid to give them extra space.

The birds have since been replaced.

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