Fantastic Arctic fox walks 2,175 miles from Norway to Canada in 76 days

The epic journey by the Arctic fox has raised concerns about climate change. Credit: Norwegian Polar Institute

An Arctic fox has walked a whopping 2,175 miles (3,500km) from Norway to Canada via Greenland, in just 76 days.

Leaving Norway’s Svalbard archipelago on March 1, the animal travelled an average of 29 miles each day, arriving on Canada's Ellsemere Island on July 1, 2018.

On one particular day the fox travelled a jaw-dropping 96 miles across an ice sheet in northern Greenland.

Scientists said the fox also made two "stopovers" thought to have been times when she curled up in a ball for a day at a time to sit out bad weather.

The fox had been fitted with a tracking device allowing researchers at the Norwegian Polar Institute to follow her movements.

The Arctic fox that was tracked via satellite and stock images of an Arctic fox. Credit: Elise Strømseng/Norwegian Polar Institute

The institute said in a research paper titled "One female’s long run across sea ice” that the fox’s journey was among the longest ever recorded.

It was so long, in fact, that researchers thought at one point the fox’s collar could have been removed and taken on board a boat.

“But no, there are no boats that go so far up in the ice. So we just had to keep up with what the fox did,” researcher Eva Fuglei concluded.

She added: ''This is, to our knowledge, the fastest movement rate ever recorded for this species.''

The fox’s journey has once again raised questions about the impact climate change is having on sea ice and subsequently on Arctic animals.

Without the sea ice - which is rapidly melting due to rising global temperatures - the fox would not have been able to make her journey, or would have had to have travelled much further.

It also highlighted how she had to adapt her diet: The fox was tracked from an area where she would have survived on “marine food resources”, including marine birds.

When the fox moved to Ellesmere island, it lived off predominantly lemmings, indicating its ability to switch ecosystems.

This map outlines the journey taken by the Arctic fox - her voyage started on Svalbard in Norway and ended when she reached Ellesmere Island in Canada. Credit: Arnaud Tarroux / NINA

The fox's GPS tracker stopped working in February this year and it is not known what happened to her after this point.

Ms Fuglei together with researcher Arnaud Tarroux from the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA) conducted the study and mapped the journey taken by the fox.

  • The fox was fitted with a tracking necklace before it epic walk

An Arctic fox is also known as a coastal or blue fox and in Norway is referred to as a mountain reef.

The animal's epic journey in 2018 has only come to light now after it was the subject of an academic article which was recently published in the Norwegian Polar Institute's journal Polar Research.