Last century, the Arctic fox was almost hunted to extinction in Sweden. Successful conservation efforts helped rescue the species. But it is still far from secure, since just over 200 foxes survived the last winter - too few to thrive without your support.
Feeding the future
The Arctic fox is an icon of Sweden’s frozen north. It has evolved to cope with the worst imaginable weather from fierce snowstorms to temperatures below 50 degrees Celsius. But nowadays they need our help, especially the pups who rely on WWF rations to see them through the winter.
Help Sweden's Arctic foxes
Shelter from the storm
Driven by demand for its pure white fur, the Arctic fox was only saved from extinction by a hunting ban in 1928. But almost a century later, the species is still clinging on.
One reason for its slow recovery is the age-old boom and bust cycle of its primary prey, the Scandinavian lemming. While Arctic foxes produce big litters when lemmings are abundant, they give birth to very few pups or none at all when lemmings are scarce. A lack of lemmings also makes it harder for foxes to survive the winter.
But Arctic foxes are now facing new dangers. They live in the open tundra beyond the treeline. Temperatures there have risen by one degree Celsius over the last hundred years, pushing the treeline deeper into the fox’s territory. And with the trees has come a new competitor - the Arctic fox’s much larger cousin, the red fox. Not only does the newcomer colonise their dens, it can also kill the smaller Arctic foxes.
However, Arctic fox numbers have risen from 30 to more than 200 since 1980, thanks to the tireless work of nature wardens and scientists, and WWF’s successful feeding programme. This initiative has helped many foxes survive the hungriest times of the year when metre-deep snow covers the tundra.
This summer saw a record number of births, with pups being born in areas where foxes have not been seen for years. But we urgently need your support to give all these pups a fighting chance of living until spring.