11.02.2015 - 11:03

Volunteer Placements Full for 2015

The Arctic Fox Centre has now closed its application process to come and help us during 2015.
This year we have had a record number of applicants and we would like to thank everyone for their interest and support of our work, its good to know so many people are dedicated to the gathering, furthuring and spreading of knowledge about Arctic foxes.

Applications for 2016 will begin at the end of the year.

We are looking forward to meeting all of our volunteers and having a great summer here in Súðavíka dn on Hornstrandir!

16.01.2015 - 15:36

Arctic fox winter diet

Jónas is looking into the stomach content items
Jónas is looking into the stomach content items
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Recently we finished the project: What are the foxes eating? The winter diet of the Icelandic arctic fox. 
Full report (in Icelandic) is found here on the web page. The project was funded by the hunting-bounty grant on the behalf of The Icelandic Ministry for the Environment and Natural Resources.
Here is a short abstract:

In Iceland, warming climate and milder weather during the past 30 decades has benefitted the Icelandic arctic fox. The population grew eightfold since estimation began in 1979 until it reached a peak of around 11.000 individuals in 2007. Actually, the population was historically small at the onset of the population estimates, around 1000 individuals, and had been declining since the 1950´s (P. Hersteinsson 2010). The reason for the increase is probably related to better conditions for various bird species inhabiting Iceland in accordance to milder weather. The arctic fox in Iceland feeds mainly on birds as there are no reliable rodent populations in Iceland.
One important limiting factor for the arctic fox population is food availability, both in quality and quantity. This is especially important for survival and breeding probabilities of females, even fertility (A. Angerbjörn o.fl. 1991). Because of this, it was interesting to see what the Icelandic foxes were eating during the winter.
The main results were that alcids, fish and egg were only found in stomachs from the western part of Iceland. The eggs were probably from a fulmar and had been cached to be kept for later during last spring. Wood mice were found mostly in stomachs from the western part of the country. Geese and passerines were more commonly found in stomachs from the eastern part (together >50%). Ptarmigans were somewhat more common at the eastern part (28%) than the western (23%). Fulmars and gulls were more likely found in stomachs from western part (15%) than eastern (9%).
Invertebrates were found in considerable amounts in stomachs, especially at the eastern country. Among common types found were larva and pupae of Melanchra pisi but these are large items and full of nutritious proteins and calories.