An Arctic Fox Traveled Almost 2,700 Miles

Just after 21 days leaving the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen, an arctic fox had arrived in Greenland. And in lower than three months, it made it to Canada. The fox averaged almost 30 miles a day (50 kilometers) – some days, although, it walked nearly 100 to 160 kilometers.

“When it started, we thought ‘is this true?’ ” mentioned Arnaud Tarroux, one of many researchers who tracked the female fox. Was there “an error within the data?”

The data was real. The scientists decided because the fox kept moving. The creatures travel last year, documented in a current paper, wowed Tarroux and his fellow Norwegian researcher Eva Fuglei, although the animal is thought for its endurance and ability to survive in the harsh polar region.

Scientists already know the fact that some of the foxes, local to Arctic regions all around the Northern Hemisphere, made long journeys: DNA change links far-flung fox populations in areas connected solely by sea ice.

However, the fox these researchers followed stood out for just how fast it covered greater than 2,700 miles (4,350 Km) – and shed light on far-north fox sightings that explorers wondered about as far back as the 1800s.

“We did not know how they’d do this and how long it could take for a person to do this type of journey,” Tarroux stated.

While not unprecedented, the long-distance journey is rare amongst arctic foxes, according to the scientists. However, over many years and among many animals, Tarroux mentioned, these occasional long paths can add up to the sort of genetic exchange, which means arctic foxes all around the far north are strikingly similar.

Ocean ice is crucial to the journeys – and it is receding in the long term due to climate change, he added, noting that melting ice has left the arctic fox population in Iceland isolated.

“This type of movement is not going to be possible in the future if the sea ice disappears,” he stated.