An arctic fox walked more than 2,737 miles from northern Norway to Canada’s far north in four months, Norwegian researchers said.
The Norwegian Polar Institute reported that the young female fox left her birthplace in Norway’s Svalbard archipelago on March 1, 2018, and reached Canada’s Ellesmere Island by way of Greenland on July 1, 2018.
The ground the small fox covered in those four months was among the most recorded for an arctic fox seeking a place to settle and breed.
Institute scientists monitored the fox’s movements with a satellite tracking device they fitted her with in July 2017 near her native habitat on a Norwegian island. She stayed close to home then gradually ventured out until she left the island March 26, 2018.
During the walk to Canada, the roughly 2-year-old fox moved at an average rate of 28.7 miles per day, the Norwegian scientists said.
“The short span of time spent covering such a distance highlights the exceptional movement capacity of this small-sized carnivore species,” they said.
The sea ice allows Norway’s arctic foxes to reach Greenland and then North America, though it’s not known why they leave their birthplaces in search of places to breed, the researchers said.
The animals, which have thick fur to survive cold environments and live to about age 4, eat fish, marine birds and small arctic rodents called lemmings.