Arctic fox

The arctic fox is very well adapted to the extreme cold of the arctic environment and can be found all around the Arctic.
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Arctic Fox (Alopex lagopus)
© Billy Lindblom http://www.flickr.com/photos/billyboysfotocolection/

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Key Facts

  • Common Name

    Arctic fox, polar fox

  • Scientific Name

    Alopex lagopus

  • Status

    Least concern

    IUCN

  • Geographic Location

    Circumpolar in Arctic tundra habitats

Physical Description
In winter, the Arctic fox is white, but in the summer its coat becomes thinner and changes to a brown and yellow colour.

Size
Length: 85cm
Tail: 31cm
Weight: average 3.5kg

Diet
The Arctic fox eats Arctic hares and some birds and bird eggs. But the main source of food is the lemming and the population size fluctuates with the cycle of the lemming population.

Threats
The conservation status of the species is good, except for the Scandinavian mainland population where it is endangered. The total population estimate in Finland, Norway and Sweden is a mere 120 adult individuals.

The main threat to the Arctic fox has historically been hunting, although this has decreased in line with the decline in the fur trade. The Arctic fox remains the single most important terrestrial game species and is still hunted by indigenous peoples.

Other threats include diseases and the spread North of the larger and more aggressive red fox (Vulpes vulpes), which has encroached on arctic fox territory in some areas. This is an indirect threat to the arctic fox as a result of climate change.
Arctic fox (<i>Alopex lagopus</i>) / ©: Staffan Widstrand
Arctic fox (Alopex lagopus)
© Staffan Widstrand
The arctic fox can be found all the way around the circumpolar north / ©: Wikipedia / based on information from the IUCN Canid Specialist Group
The arctic fox can be found all the way around the circumpolar north
© Wikipedia / based on information from the IUCN Canid Specialist Group

What is WWF doing?

WWF's work in the Arctic region aims to ensure the fragile ecosystems are supported and protected.

WWF's work to mitigate the effects of climate change aims to ensure that species such as the Arctic fox are not adversely affected by changes to the climate.

How you can help

  • Adopt an Arctic Fox! Help protect the species through WWF Canada
  • Spread the word! Click on the button to share this information with others via email or your favourite social networking service.

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