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Daily Archives: 10. November 2020 − News & Stories

Lice found in fur of arc­tic foxes

An alar­ming dis­co­very: lice have been found in the fur of arc­tic foxes. So far, arc­tic foxes were gene­ral­ly found to be free of lice, both on the Scan­di­na­vi­an main­land and in Spits­ber­gen.

Arctic fox: lice detected

Arc­tic fox with win­ter fur in good order. The fur can be affec­ted by lice to a degree that it does not insu­la­te any­mo­re suf­fi­ci­ent­ly.

A taxi­der­mist beca­me scep­ti­cal when he saw fur from Arc­tic foxes from Spits­ber­gen, which had been caught a year ago. The fur was visi­bly affec­ted in the neck area, with less hair than nor­mal, and small ani­mals were visi­ble in the fur. The­se were later iden­ti­fied as lice by a spe­cia­list in Trom­sø, as was now repor­ted by Sval­bard­pos­ten.

The foxes in ques­ti­on were caught a year ago in Bøda­len and Coles­da­len, both south of Lon­gye­ar­by­en. Now, all local fox hun­ters are encou­ra­ged to keep their eyes open. Should lice inde­ed be about to get estab­lished in arc­tic foxes, then the con­se­quen­ces might be dra­ma­tic, as foxes need an int­act fur to cope with the cold of the arc­tic win­ter.

But the first thing that needs to be coped with is a huge gap of sci­en­ti­fic know­ledge. The annu­al fox-hunt is curr­ent­ly ongo­ing in Spits­ber­gen. Foxes are still hun­ted by a very few pro­fes­sio­nal trap­pers and by lei­su­re hun­ters. The­re are 25 are­as for fox hun­ting in Spits­ber­gen, the­reof 23 in Nor­dens­ki­öld Land (Longyearbyen’s wide sur­roun­dings) and 2 in the area of Ny-Åle­sund.


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