Learn about the fennec fox, a desert canine whose cuteness has made it a controversial commodity in the exotic pet trade.
Looking for your daily dose of cute? Look no further than the fennec fox. It’s no secret that this desert dweller, with its huge batlike ears and tiny catlike body, is adorable. Unfortunately, fennec fox populations are shrinking—in part because they’re such a hot commodity in the pet trade.
Habitat: the sandy deserts of northern Africa.
Why are they threatened?
No detailed population data on fennec foxes is available; however, they’re known to be fairly abundant across their northern African home. The IUCN has classified fennec foxes as a Least Concern species to show that the foxes’ populations are widespread, but more research into their conservation status is needed.
Like other cuddly-looking critters, the fennec fox is highly sought after as a pet. Although these wild beasties are best appreciated from afar (for example, by viewing cute pictures of them online), this hasn’t stopped them from being hunted and trapped for commercial sale. The foxes’ populations are also dipping due to hunting by locals and domestic dogs.