Wild Baby Arctic Fox
Northern Hemisphere Arctic Regions
CONSERVATION STATUS Least Concern
It might be a bit cold for most but this 16-week boy is prepared. He has been tucked away in his huge den with his many brothers and siblings safe and sound. They have been drinking all the milk they can and having a great time playing with each other, but he is very interested in the big wide world. His thick white coat should protect him from the elements but he must always have his wits about him, keeping his eyes peeled at all times for the dreaded red fox.
The beautiful Arctic fox may look delicate but it is incredibly hardy. It lives in one of the most inhospitable climates in the world, the Arctic, which spends its winter below freezing and its short summer just above. The fox has developed a thick white coat to perfectly suit its surroundings. Not only is it wonderfully warm with a lovely fluffy tail perfect for a blanket but it blends in perfectly with the snowy surroundings making it an excellent hunter. In the summer it sheds its thick coat for a brown/grey one that is perfect for blending in with the ice-free summer. Arctic Foxes are the only canid that has fur on the pads of their feet.
Even though they are exceptional hunters, sometimes the long winter months can be short on food, particularly their favourite cuisine of lemmings. To solve this problem, the crafty hunters follow larger predators like polar bears and wolves to scavenge whatever they manage to find. To help them with their hunting endeavours, the Arctic Fox has developed a spectacular sense of hearing and smell. They can easily hear lemmings burrowing under 4-5 inches of snow and can smell a leftover carcass 10-40km away. Once they have found their prey under the snow they leap into the air, giving them a fantastic vantage to pierce through the snow, catching their prey unaware.
Arctic foxes live in very large dens, a system of tunnels which can cover 1000m2 and has many entrances. If their main food source, the lemming, is abundant, the foxes can have litters as big as 25 kits, the largest of any dog, but are usually between 6-19. Arctic foxes are monogamous so both parents look after their young. The mother will feed the kits with her milk while the father will head out to hunt. The kits are completely dependent on their parents from summer to autumn, leaving the den for the first time when they are 14-15 weeks old and becoming sexually mature once they are a year old.
While the species as a whole is thriving, some populations are critically endangered; in Scandinavia and Medny Island in Russia. With the near extinction of wolves, the red fox became the apex predator, killing many foxes and their kits. They are also very susceptible to the populations of their prey. When lemming numbers drop, so too do fox numbers. Another major problem for the foxes is climate change. The Arctic is seeing rising temperatures at twice the rate of the rest of the world making huge changes to the habitat of the fox.
HOW TO HELP
Based off real animals that Gillie and Marc met while travelling, the public will be able to meet individual animals.
With public art, more people will come into contact with these sculptures, will stop and consider them, will take a photograph, and will discuss this with their friends and family. Through this increased exposure, the message of love, family, and conservation will be spread much further than any piece of art in a gallery ever could. It will bring people into close contact and will help them to fall in love. With love comes a greater urge to want to create a change and save all endangered animals.
The sculpture will be aligned with the hashtags #LoveTheLast and #wildaboutbabies to raise unparalleled awareness about the sculpture’s cause across the globe.
To help protect these animals, please donate to the WWF: https://www.worldwildlife.org/