First recording of a breeding introduced arctic fox on Varanger Peninsula

Published on: 19. November 2018

Screening of the photos from trail cameras has just revealed that one arctic fox litter was born on Varanger Peninsula this summer.

First recording of a breeding introduced arctic fox on Varanger Peninsula

Photos obtained from a camera mounted on a feeding station near an arctic fox den document the presence of the pups. Both of the parents were also photographed. They were identified as one native Varanger fox (mother) and one ear-tagged captive bred male (father) that was released in February. The captive bred father is of the blue morph. Among the pups, there were two of the white morph and one of the blue. The actual den was surveyed by Norwegian Environment Agency inspectors in July, according to the standard protocol of the Norwegian arctic fox monitoring program. However, during this survey no pups were recorded on this or any other of the dens on Varanger Peninsula. In cases where the fox litters are small and prey availability is low (there were few lemmings this summer), there may be few clear signs at dens with breeding foxes. Also COAT’s arctic fox monitoring on Svalbard has shown that camera-based monitoring increases the likelihood of detecting breeding at dens compared to manual surveys. With cameras also litter size is estimated with higher precision.  In Svalbard, all arctic dens included in COAT are monitored with trail cameras.  Camera-based monitoring will also be increasingly important on the Varanger Peninsula in the next years as it is expected (and indeed hoped) that arctic foxes will breed on an increasing number of dens.