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Big Number: How far would you go in search of food?

A polar fox was fitted with a satellite tracking collar in Krossfjorden, Svalbard, a Norwegian Arctic archipelago, on July 29, 2017, as part of research conducted by the Norwegian Polar Institute. Norwegian researchers said Tuesday July 2, 2019, that this young female arctic fox, shown in this photo, has been tracked walking from northern Norway to Canada’s far north.
A polar fox was fitted with a satellite tracking collar in Krossfjorden, Svalbard, a Norwegian Arctic archipelago, on July 29, 2017, as part of research conducted by the Norwegian Polar Institute. Norwegian researchers said Tuesday July 2, 2019, that this young female arctic fox, shown in this photo, has been tracked walking from northern Norway to Canada’s far north. (Elise Stroemseng/Norwegian Polar Institute via AP)

2,176 miles

Scientists were shocked when they discovered a young Arctic fox walked from Norway’s Svalbard islands to northern Canada, a distance of 2,176 miles, in just 76 days, according to the BBC. Less than a year old when it started its journey in search of food, the fox averaged just over 28.5 miles a day, but sometimes covered as much as 96 miles in a day. Arctic foxes often migrate to other areas in search of food, according to scientists, but a warming planet and shrinking polar ice have made it difficult. Arctic foxes can no longer visit Iceland like they used to, and, in time, the Svalbard islands could also become isolated.

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Scientists see hope, however, that the warmer temperatures could at least mean more Svalbard reindeer, possibly giving the foxes more carcasses to scavenge.


Aimee Ortiz can be reached at aimee.ortiz@globe.com. Follow her on twitter @aimee_ortiz.