Arctic foxes must not be disturbed



Arctic foxes must not be disturbed
M-460 | 2015
The Arctic fox has priority species status and disturbance of this threatened species is prohibited. Photo: Kim Abel, Naturarkivet.
Arctic foxes must not be disturbed
The arctic fox was designated a priority species in January 2015 and a new regulation came into place simultaneously. In accordance with section 3 of the regulation,
any actions that may affect and interfere with arctic foxes are strictly prohibited.
The arctic fox is one of the most threatened
mammals and directly endangered in Norway. A
number of management measures have enabled
the population of foxes to increase, so you can
now expect to encounter them in several mountain areas in Norway.
The foxes are disturbed when humans come too
close. Therefore, providing information about
situations and actions that may count as disturbance is an important preventative measure.
ority species, The Norwegian Environment Agency commissioned the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA) to compile the available
information about disturbance of and the effects
of disturbance on arctic foxes.
The arctic fox regulation
Disturbance is prohibited
The arctic fox regulation clearly prohibits disturbance of arctic fox individuals. Therefore, you
must pay attention to how your activity in arctic
fox areas affects individual foxes.
In connection with the Arctic fox becoming a pri-
The arctic fox was designated a priority
species on 23 January via the «Regulation on
the arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) as a priority
species». The regulation was established by
Royal Decree pursuant to the Act of 19 June
2009 no. 100 on the management of biodiversity (Biodiversity Act) § 23, § 24 and § 62.
Norwegian Environment Agency | Telephone: +47 73 58 05 00 | E-mail: [email protected] | Internet: | Postal address: Postboks 5672 Sluppen, No-7485 Trondheim
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M-460 | 2015
The most obvious sign that arctic foxes have
been disturbed is that they flee or give warning
Another sign may be that the foxes cease their
present activity, such as eating or playing, and
instead spend more time sitting inactive and/or
observing more (are more vigilant).
Disturbance may also cause the arctic foxes to
change their activity pattern to become more
active during times when people are less active,
or they may move fox kits to another den.
Avoid continual presence
How to avoid disturbing arctic foxes
Avoid den areas, especially between
mid-May and mid-July when fox kits
are particularly vulnerable.
People on foot should keep a minimum distance from dens of at least
300 metres – this minimum distance
should be increased in open and flat
The minimum distance should be increased if there are more people travelling together in a group.
Pay attention to any changes in the
foxes’ behaviour.
If foxes cease their ongoing activity
and notably become more vigilant or
give warning vocalisations, these are
all signs that they have been disturbed.
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To flee is a last resort for foxes, who
may have been disturbed long before
they flee.
If you unexpectedly enter a denning
area with fox kits present, you should
retreat the same way you came.
If you are in a group, the entire group
should retreat as a unit.
Although as many people as possible should have
the opportunity to experience this remarkable
animal, arctic foxes must also be able to retain
their natural behaviours. Persistent human presence over longer periods of time can make arctic foxes more habituated to humans.
You should therefore avoid activities such as
feeding arctic foxes to lure them closer to you,
for example for the purposes of observation or
photography. You should also avoid regularly
visiting den locations and neighbouring areas.
Photo: Bård Bredesen, Naturarkivet.
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