Young Arctic Fox Walks Astonishing 2,700-Miles From Norway to Canada in Just 76 Days

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Arctic fox. Credit: Jonatan Pie | Unsplash

A young female Arctic fox, less than 1-year old, has walked across the ice from Norway’s Svalbard islands to northern Canada in an epic journey, covering 2,700 miles in 76 days.

“The fox’s journey has left scientists speechless,” according to Greenland’s Sermitsiaq newspaper.

Researchers at Norway’s Polar Institute fitted the young fox with a GPS tracking device and released her into the wild in late March last year on the east coast of Spitsbergen, the Svalbard archipelago’s main island. The animal, also known as a coastal or blue fox, traveled more than 2,700 miles to Ellesmere Island in Nunavut, Canada. The journey is among the longest dispersal events ever recorded for the species.

The fox set off west in search of food, reaching Greenland just 21 days later – a journey of 940 miles – before marching forward on the second leg of her trek. She was tracked to Canada’s Ellesmere Island just 76 days after leaving Svalbard. Unfortunately, we will never know what she gets up to in Canada, as her transmitter stopped working in February, the Polar Institute reports.

An incredible journey… Credit: Polar Research Twitter

The fox’s average traveling speed varied greatly throughout her trip, hitting an average of about 28 miles per day. Her fastest recorded movement rate was about 96 miles per day while crossing the ice sheet in northwestern Greenland. This indicates that she was using sea ice mostly to help her travel, rather than as a place to forage for food.

The shrinking of the polar ice pack is having an impact on Arctic foxes. They are no longer able to visit Iceland, for example, and in due course, the population in Svalbard could become completely isolated.

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