The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Arctic Fox’s Record-Breaking Journey Might Not Have Been Possible Without Sea Ice
The fox traveled 3,506 kilometers (approximately 2,176 miles) in 76 days, one of the longest journeys for the species ever recorded, according to a paper documenting her trek. At one point, she clocked 155 kilometers (approximately 96 miles) a day.
Researchers made a gif of the fox's travels across Greenland. She walked close to the North Pole for over 2,100 miles to Canada.
Norwegian Polar Institute
"This is the fastest movement rate recorded for this species," Eva Fuglei from the Norwegian Polar Institute and Arnaud Tarroux from the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research wrote.
But the climate crisis might deny future members of her species a chance to break her record. That's because she reached that speed while traveling on the ice sheet in northern Greenland. The researchers speculated that her speed meant she was using sea ice as a "means of transport," The Guardian reported.
"This is another example of how important sea ice is to wildlife in the Arctic," Norway's Minister of Climate and Environment Ola Elvestuen told the Norwegian Polar Institute, as The Guardian reported. "The warming in the north is frighteningly fast. We must cut emissions quickly to prevent the sea ice from disappearing all summer."
Fuglei told The Guardian that this study was the first time they had documented a fox's migration between Arctic continents and ecosystems.
The juvenile fox, who had been fitted with a tracking collar in 2017, began her journey on March 26, 2018 when she left Spitsbergen, the largest of the Svalbard Islands, NBC News reported. She surprised researchers by arriving in Greenland just three weeks later on April 16. She then traveled on to Canada's Ellesmere Island. In total, she averaged 28.5 miles a day.
"We couldn't believe our eyes at first. We thought perhaps it was dead, or had been carried there on a boat, but there were no boats in the area. We were quite thunderstruck," Fuglei told Norway's NRK public broadcaster, as BBC News reported.
The fox's ultimate fate is not known, as the tracker stopped working in February.
Fuglei said the melting of the sea ice could have serious consequences for the Arctic fox.
"If the sea ice disappears, the arctic fox in Svalbard will become isolated," Fuglei said, as NBC News reported.
But not all the consequences of global warming would be necessarily negative for the species.
"[H]igher temperatures could mean more Svalbard reindeer, and the foxes scavenge off their carcasses," Fuglei told NRK, as BBC News reported.
- Arctic fox sets new record after walking from Norway to Canada in ... ›
- Fantastic Arctic fox walks 2,175 miles from Norway to Canada in 76 ... ›
- Arctic fox amazes scientists with 2,000 mile trek in 76 days - CNN ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
John Paul Stevens, the retired Supreme Court Justice who wrote the opinion granting environmental agencies the power to regulate greenhouse gases, died Tuesday at the age of 99. His decision gave the U.S. government important legal tools for fighting the climate crisis.
By Elliott Negin
On July 8, President Trump hosted a White House event to unabashedly tout his truly abysmal environmental record. The following day, coincidentally, marked the one-year anniversary of Andrew Wheeler at the helm of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), first as acting administrator and then as administrator after the Senate confirmed him in late February.
By Tara Lohan
If you're a lover of wilderness, wildlife, the American West and the public lands on which they all depend, then journalist Christopher Ketcham's new book is required — if depressing — reading.
World hunger is on the rise for the third consecutive year after decades of decline, a new United Nations (UN) report says. The climate crisis ranks alongside conflict as the top cause of food shortages that force more than 821 million people worldwide to experience chronic hunger. That number includes more than 150 million children whose growth is stunted due to a lack of food.
By Adrienne L. Hollis
Because extreme heat is one of the deadliest weather hazards we currently face, Union of Concerned Scientist's Killer Heat Report for the U.S. is the most important document I have read. It is a veritable wake up call for all of us. It is timely, eye-opening, transparent and factual and it deals with the stark reality of our future if we do not make changes quickly (think yesterday). It is important to ensure that we all understand it. Here are 10 terms that really help drive home the messages in the heat report and help us understand the ramifications of inaction.