17.08.2009 - 09:39

Tourist effects on arctic foxes - last week of the summers“ research

A tame arctic fox plays around with a tourist in Hornvik in July
A tame arctic fox plays around with a tourist in Hornvik in July
The last week of the research „Tourist effects on arctic foxes" was finished in Hornvik in August. This is the second summer of the research that was planned for 3 years but last summer we performed a pilot-study to find ways to measure the tourist effects on the foxes. This is a part of our project within The Wild North - see www.thewildnorth.org

It is obvious difference in the behaviour of the animals between months but in June and July the pups were strictly located at the den site, quite vulnerable and dependent on the parents for food. Now they were more spread around but still within the parents territory and some pups would still be close to the dens while others hardly come to the natal den. The pups are more alerted than their parents who behave similar as before, scent mark the whole territory borders and bark to communicate with the family and neighbours.

It is important for the family to keep the territory into the winter since they have cached valuable food there, such as eggs and bird carcasses. Access to the coast will be vital in the winter since it is the most important food resource. Dead fish, seals, birds strand there besides the sea weed larva and other invertebrates are often available there. All the arctic fox territories in Cliff Hornbjarg have access to some part of the coastline.

The arctic foxes in Hornstrandir Nature Reserve go for berries as any other Icelanders in late summer. It sometimes gets crowded when 15 ravens and an arctic fox family come together for berries. They are great for gaining fat layers for the winter to store energy during starvation periods.