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Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) scavenging on the spring sea ice: potential implications for Arctic food webs

Thomas S. Jung, Michael J. Suitor, Steven Barykuk, Joseph Nuyaviak, Danny C. Gordon, Danny Gordon, Jr., Ernest Pokiak


Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) has been increasingly observed in the Arctic. However, few observations of Red Foxes occupying and using resources on the sea ice have been reported. We observed a Red Fox scavenging on a Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus) carcass on the Beaufort Sea, Northwest Territories, Canada. The fox was in a jumble of ice (i.e., rubble ice) approximately 4.5 km from shore. Local Inuvialuit hunters had also previously observed Red Foxes on the sea ice. Our observation, coupled with those of Inuvialuit hunters, is of interest because it provides additional information on the adaptability of Red Foxes to local environments and their ability to use a wide range of habitats and food sources. Moreover, it points to encroachment by Red Foxes into the offshore habitat of Arctic Foxes (Vulpes lagopus) and potential competition with them for scarce resources, which may impact trophic food webs.


Beaufort Sea; Red Fox; range expansion; scavenging; sea ice; Vulpes vulpes

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