This Wildlife Wednesday, learn about the hardy - but adorable - Arctic fox, and how it could be impacted by climate change.
If there were a competition for cuteness between the Arctic fox, sea otter, and red panda, it’s anyone’s game. But at the size of a large housecat and covered in thick, fluffy white fur, the Arctic fox is pretty stiff competition.
Habitat: Arctic regions of Asia, North America, Europe, and Greenland
Arctic fox trivia
Why they’re threatened and what you can do to help
Although at one time Arctic foxes were threatened primarily by hunting (their thick white coat was very valuable in the fur trade), their main threat today is climate change.
Researchers believe that lemmings, one of the Arctic fox’s main food sources, will suffer with longer falls and an increase in thawing and freezing (two consequences of climate change in the Arctic). And when lemmings suffer, Arctic foxes suffer. Warmer temperatures also mean that red foxes (related to Arctic foxes) enter the Arctic fox’s territory, so the two compete for resources.
An additional threat to Arctic foxes is humans, although indirectly. Recent research shows that Arctic foxes often have high levels of mercury and chlorinated pesticides in their bodies, which they absorb through the environment via the fish they eat.
Therefore, we can help the Arctic fox indirectly by altering our daily habits, such as by reducing the amount of mercury we add to the environment, eating organic, and reducing our carbon footprints.