Protection project aims to boost numbers of arctic fox - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Protection project aims to boost numbers of arctic fox

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ENGAN, Norway (KWWL) -

Scientists in Norway are trying to save an endangered species of fox.

The Arctic Fox Protection Project has built a habitat for the distinctive white arctic fox in Engan, Norway.

The habitat is maintained as a breeding center for the foxes to nurture their pups. Currently, there are eight couples at the breeding center.

Global populations of the arctic fox are stable, but in Finland, Norway and Sweden, the species is critically endangered.

"When we actually started this project the remaining populations (of Arctic fox) in Norway and Sweden combined was less than fifty individuals, adult individuals in total," Arild Landa of the Project said. "Today there is approximately three hundred in Norway."

The population of the arctic fox began to decimate when climate changes allowed the larger red fox to survive in higher alpine areas.

The two species began hunt for similar food and competed for territory. In some instances, red fox actually preyed on the arctic fox. 

The breeding center's fence is high enough to keep red foxes from entering, protecting the arctic fox couples.

Some of the adolescent foxes which have been bred at the center will later be released into the wild to help boost the population of the animals.

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