Vulpes lagopus fuliginosus

19 06 2013

The arctic fox, Vulpes lagopus, Icelandic subspecies fuliginosus, is the only mammal in Iceland. The Arctic Fox Center is in Súðavík. The museum consists of two parts. The first part deals with the biology and natural history of the Arctic Fox including distribution, genetics, diet, details about their behavior and the difference between ‘white’ and ‘blue’ morph Arctic foxes – the lesser known blue morph being especially significant to the region. The second deals with the social history of Iceland in relation to Arctic foxes, a complex history that reaches back over 1000 years. This part of the exhibition explores Iceland’s fox-hunting tradition which continues to affect Iceland’s relationship with the fox. Both the social and natural history parts of the museum give context to the scientific research conducted by the center, of which there are also exhibits on display.

A snowy fox on display at the Arctic Fox Center.

A snowy fox on display at the Arctic Fox Center.

The research focuses on three main fields. The interaction between foxes and tourists, the dissections on carcasses from foxhunters, and the population estimation in the Westfjords. Most of the field work to observe the population and the effect of tourism is carried out in the nature reserve Hornstrandir which is a popular hiking destination. Recently other areas in the Westfjords became also subject of fieldwork. To observe the foxes several volunteers are engaged every year.The aim is to establish a sustainable wildlife tourism, since there is an increasing interest of tourists in the foxes, especially to take pictures.

In the wild they aren't as cute. This one is shedding his white winter coat for a summer one. They came around the farm at Hornstrandir because visitors leave food and even feed them.

In the wild they aren’t as cute… this one is shedding his white winter coat for a summer one. They came around the farm at Hornstrandir because visitors leave food and even feed them.

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