Red and Arctic foxes clash in Russia

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Red and Arctic foxes clash in Russia

Post by valkea » Thu Apr 14, 2011 9:32 am

Russia's Arctic foxes are under threat from an expanding population of red foxes, according to scientists.

For the first time, a red fox has been observed intruding on an Arctic fox breeding den in Russia's far north.

The Arctic fox abandoned its den to the dominant intruder, leaving pups to fend for themselves.

Researchers say this is evidence that red foxes are expelling Arctic foxes as a warming climate allows them to survive much further north.

Arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus) live in mountainous tundra habitats around the north polar region.

Watch an arctic fox scavenging polar bear leftovers

Previous studies have identified the foxes retreating from the southern edge of their range.

Scientists say that this is because red fox populations are expanding and, where the two overlap, red foxes dominate their smaller Arctic cousins.

Although direct observations of this competition had been made in Sweden, researchers from Russia and Norway wanted to find out whether Arctic foxes further north were under the same pressure.

Their findings were published in the journal Polar Biology.

"We were surprised to meet a red fox in our study area on the Russian Arctic tundra because this species is very rare in such northern territories," explained researcher Anna Rodnikova.

She and her team observed a red fox approaching an Arctic fox breeding den on the Yamal Peninsula, in north-western Siberia, during their summer study.

The Arctic fox was not at the den but when it returned it did so hesitantly, stopping 50m away and barking when it saw the red fox.

Although the red fox looked in poor condition, it was clearly the dominant one during this encounter.

After these initial defensive barks, the Arctic fox withdrew from the competition and did not return to the den.

"It was strange to see that the [Arctic fox] mother was so afraid of the red fox that it didn't try to protect the pups, which probably were inside the den," said Ms Rodnikova.

But the scientists said that it was unlikely that the red fox killed the pups and they found no evidence of their remains.

The team wrote in the paper: "The arctic fox pups were most likely hiding in the burrow system while the red fox was present and abandoned the den area after the encounter.

Researchers suggest that this encounter is strong evidence that red foxes are responsible for the arctic foxes' retreat.

Their study was part of a project using predators as indicators of changes in the Arctic.

Although their numbers are in the healthy hundreds of thousands, Arctic foxes are still considered an important indicator of climate change.

"We don't think that climate warming makes conditions directly more difficult for Arctic foxes," said Ms Rodnikova.

"Most likely climate warming allows red foxes to survive in severe northern conditions, so [they] have an opportunity to expand their range to the North where they dominate over Arctic foxes."

Red foxes are 25% larger than Arctic foxes but lack their adaptations to severely cold habitats including their superbly insulating fur coat and fur-covered feet pads.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/earth/hi/earth_ne ... 455661.stm
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Re: Red and Arctic foxes clash in Russia

Post by Zethra » Thu Apr 14, 2011 9:43 am

That's a rather interesting article Hidden, it definatly is odd for a red fox invading arctic fox territory. It is sad that they are susceptible to the warming climate aswell, and that it's so hard for them.
Thanks for sharing this with us Hidden.
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Re: Red and Arctic foxes clash in Russia

Post by wolfyattitude » Thu Apr 14, 2011 1:05 pm

Fox fight! Fur will fly!

Na, but I love foxes, this is a very interesting article thanks!
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Re: Red and Arctic foxes clash in Russia

Post by Kivia » Thu Apr 14, 2011 2:36 pm

At first I thought that this was a case of an invasive species taking over, but I see that this isn't the case here after looking it up. The Red Fox is an invasive species in Australia though.
Thanks for the article, though; very interesting read. I'm not too worried about Arctic Foxes as those far north are probably safe from running into Red Foxes, but then there's all of that talk about climate change and such. I'm still not too worried though~

Thanks again^^

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Re: Red and Arctic foxes clash in Russia

Post by Alpha Female » Thu Apr 14, 2011 3:02 pm

Rather interesting article Hidden!
I'm hoping nothing bad will come because of this, but you never know.
Thanks for sharing.
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Re: Red and Arctic foxes clash in Russia

Post by valkea » Thu Apr 14, 2011 4:01 pm

I also hope nothing bad happens with the red foxes invading arctic fox territory, but there's no way of predicting what will happen.

Also, now that I think more than five seconds about it, this might have been better in Other Canids.
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Re: Red and Arctic foxes clash in Russia

Post by Kivia » Fri Apr 15, 2011 6:00 am

Hidden Phoenix wrote:Also, now that I think more than five seconds about it, this might have been better in Other Canids.
lolol, I do believe you are right. Look at me not even realizing that. xD

I'll go ahead and move it now; thanks for mentioning it^^

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Re: Red and Arctic foxes clash in Russia

Post by Chiu » Fri Apr 15, 2011 10:36 am

Rather interesting; Hope nothing too bad happens. I'll will probaly be following this if future articles appears.

Thanks for sharing!
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Re: Red and Arctic foxes clash in Russia

Post by portia » Fri Apr 15, 2011 9:11 pm

Very interesting article, Hidden! I'm not too worried, but I am hoping that something doesn't go devastatingly wrong that could badly impact either [or both] species as a result.
Thanks for posting this up!
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Re: Red and Arctic foxes clash in Russia

Post by Crimsona » Sat Apr 16, 2011 8:00 am

Interesting article, let's hope that nothing too drastic happens. It reminds me about what happened in England with the Red Squirrels and the Grey Squirrels, sadly that ended up horribly.
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Re: Red and Arctic foxes clash in Russia

Post by Ffeion » Tue May 10, 2011 7:09 am

I hope nothing goes wrong, I would hate to hear that one species(sp?) took over another like the red and grey squirrel situation.
Awesome article Hidden.
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Re: Red and Arctic foxes clash in Russia

Post by Mayachi » Wed Jun 29, 2011 2:55 pm

Let's hope nothing bad comes out of this.
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Re: Red and Arctic foxes clash in Russia

Post by Kidogo_Uzuri » Mon Jun 25, 2012 11:30 am

The world is coming to an end I suppose...as everyone searches for their paradice... :(
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Re: Red and Arctic foxes clash in Russia

Post by WolvesOfTheSeas » Mon Jun 25, 2012 12:28 pm

I hope noting to them.. And thanks for sharing this is scary
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