Arctic fox makes a comeback

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Wildlife and environmental advocates were jubilant over reports late last week that the endangered Arctic fox, called fjellrev in Norwegian, may be making a comeback. For the first time in 16 years, a fjellrev pup has been born in the wild.

The fjellrev has been endangered for decades. PHOTO: Wikipedia Commons

The birth of the little fox, which changes color from brown to grey to white in accordance with the season, was recorded in the Dovre Mountains (Dovrefjell) of central Norway. Its parents had been born in captivity, so it’s the first time ever that such fjellrev have nurtured offspring in their natural environment.

“This is a fantastic, joyful report,” said Arnodd Håpnes of Norges Naturvernforbund (Friends of the Earth Norway). “Breeding and placement therefore seems to work. This can have enormous meaning for our work to maintain the endangered fjellrev in the Norwegian nature.”

The fjellrev has been protected in Norway since 1930 and on the “critically endangered” list, with only about 50 adult foxes believed to currently exist.

To prevent the Arctic fox from disappearing in Norway, they’ve been bred in captivity and then released into the mountains. None had managed to reproduce until now.

The Dovre Mountains are believed to have Norway’s most intact mountain ecosystem but it’s been threatened by pollution, climate change, road-building and military use. Håpnes said it was a good sign that the fjellrev seemed to thrive and reproduce there.

Now he and other wildlife advocates hopes the fox population will grow and spread to Hadangervidda, Børgefjell and mountain areas on the Swedish side of the border.

The last time an Arctic was confirmed to have bred in the wild was in 1994.

Views and News staff