Norwegian breeding program sees arctic foxes returning in large numbers

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Over 450 Siberian cubs have been raised and released into the wild over the past 20 years in Norway.

A breeding program was started in 2003 when there were probably only 50 arctic foxes left in the wild in Finland, Sweden and Norway combined.

Now new cubs are being transported and released into the mountains of Troms, an area where many foxes have historically lived, with many of their abandoned dens still intact. Some are cleared of snow, to facilitate the arrival of the vulpines.

“The area we’re going to is an area where there were once mountain foxes. There are a lot of old mountain fox dens. But it’s been empty for many years,” said senior adviser Thomas Johansen. at the Norwegian Environmental Protection. Agency, says.

“Now we are releasing foxes, hoping they will establish a new tribe here, hopefully the start of a new era.”

Numbers are slowly increasing but arctic foxes remain in danger

The number of Siberian foxes has increased slowly since the start of the program and today the population numbers around 300 adult animals in Norway.

However, the situation remains precarious, as these foxes are still listed as endangered in Scandinavia.

Karen Lone is a senior adviser in the games section of the Norwegian Environment Agency, and she says that last year the agency registered 54 litters – the second highest number since the start of the breeding program in Norway.

“The total number of Arctic foxes in the three Scandinavian countries is estimated at just under 500 adult individuals today,” adds Lone.

In order to maximize their survival after the release, additional feeding stations and artificial dens are deployed near the release sites. To date, captive-bred foxes have been reintroduced to nine different populations across Norway.

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