ELLESMERE ISLAND, CANADA — Scientists couldn't believe one arctic fox's epic 76-day, 3,000-kilometer trek from Norway to Canada — the longest and fastest ever recorded for this species.
The BBC reports that researchers from the Norwegian Polar Institute fitted a young female arctic fox with a GPS tracking device, before freeing her into the wild in March 2018.
From Spitsbergen on Norway's Svalbard archipelago, the animal set off west, reaching Greenland in 21 days and then continuing on to Canada's Ellesmere Island. The fox travelled 3,506 kilometers in just 76 days.
Researchers say the fox covered an average of 46.3 kilometers a day, sometimes reaching 155 kilometers.
She slowed down on only two occasions. Scientists think she may have either sat out bad weather, or found a source of food.
The Polar Institute reports that the transmitter collar stopped working in February 2019, so the fox's current whereabouts are unknown.
They do say she will likely need to change her eating habits, because while Svalbard foxes subsist on a mainly marine diet, those in Ellesmere Island live largely on lemmings.
According to CNN, the Arctic is heating up twice as fast and causing a massive melting of sea ice, which is having an impact on arctic foxes.
The BBC reports that in time, the population on Svalbard might become completely isolated.
But researcher Eva Fuglei says there's hope, as higher temps mean more Svalbard reindeer, whose carcasses the foxes scavenge off.