, Volume 33, Issue 8, pp 1021-1026

Northern nomads: ability for extensive movements in adult arctic foxes

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Abstract

In July 2008 we outfitted reproductively active adult arctic foxes with satellite tracking collars on Bylot Island, Nunavut, Canada and recorded their movements over a complete annual cycle. We present the tracking data from two individuals, one female and one male, who traveled extensively from February to July 2009, covering minimum distances of 4,599 and 2,193 km, respectively. We recorded high and sustained travel rates on both land and sea ice that reached 90 km/day for the female and 88 km/day for the male. Our data confirm that arctic foxes can move extensively and demonstrate sustained travel rates that are 1.5 times those previously measured for the species. Our study is the first presenting detailed year-round satellite tracking of adult arctic foxes and has implications for our understanding of navigational abilities, foraging ecology, trophic interactions with lemming populations, and genetic population structure of arctic foxes.