The epic 2,700-mile journey was tracked by researchers from the Norwegian Polar Institute after they fitted a tracking device on the animal.
In what can only be described as absolutely "unbelievable", scientists have been able to track an arctic fox that traveled from Norway to Canada in just 76 days. The epic 2,700-mile journey was tracked by researchers from the Norwegian Polar Institute after they fitted the animal with a tracking device. The results were published in the journal Polar Research. As reported by Live Science.
Published this morning: "Arctic fox dispersal from Svalbard to Canada: one female’s long run across sea ice" https://t.co/vUvu4NbPEj This is the first satellite tracking of natal dispersal by an Arctic fox between continents. Authors: Eva Fuglei and Arnaud Tarroux pic.twitter.com/gowSov0OBA— Polar Research (@PolarResearch) June 25, 2019
"The Arctic fox settled on Ellesmere Island in a food web with lemmings, thereby switching ecosystems. Our observation supports evidence of gene flow across Arctic regions, including those seasonally bridged by sea ice, found in studies of the circumpolar genetic structure of Arctic fox populations," the paper said.
"Crossing extensive stretches of sea ice and glaciers, the female moved at an average rate of 46.3 kilometers per day," the paper added. And that's not all. There was a time when the arctic fox managed to walk a staggering 155km in a day.
The report stated that the Arctic fox left Svalbard Archipelago in Norway on March 26, 2018, and then reached Greenland 21 days later while searching for food. The young female then left Greenland on June 6, reaching Ellesmere Island in Nunavut, Canada on June 10, finally completing one of the longest recorded journeys for an Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus).
“We first did not believe it was true,” researcher Eva Fuglei was quoted as saying by The Guardian. Fuglei, who tracked the animal's movements, believed that the collar may have been removed and taken on board a boat. “But no, there are no boats that go so far up in the ice. So we just had to keep up with what the fox did,” he added.
Fjellreven vandret via havisen fra #Svalbard i Europa til #Canada i Nord-Amerika i et tempo ingen forskere tidligere har dokumentert. Foto: Elise Stømseng Les mer: https://t.co/Gk3xirq3YE pic.twitter.com/adzOVNFfyx— Norsk Polarinstitutt (@NorskPolar) June 26, 2019
According to the scientists, the arctic fox moved at an average of 46.3km per day as it made its way across sea ice and glaciers. Due to the sea ice, the fox managed to move around easily going from one destination to another. The study also revealed that the fox may have moved countries in search of new habitat and also the lack of resources. “This is, to our knowledge, the fastest movement rate ever recorded for this species,” Fuglei said.
“The sea ice plays a key role in the fact that mountain foxes will migrate between areas, meet other populations and find food,” Fuglei added that it was the first time they noticed the migration of the species between continents in the Arctic.
The whereabouts of the fox are currently unknown after the tracking device stopped transmitting in February this year. But the fox traveling thousands of miles in search of resources has raised some serious questions. “This is another example of how important sea ice is to wildlife in the Arctic,” Norway climate and environment minister, Ola Elvestuen, told the Institute.“The warming in the north is frighteningly fast. We must cut emissions quickly to prevent the sea ice from disappearing all summer.”