Home Ranges and Movements of Arctic Fox (<i>Alopex lagopus</i>) in Western Alaska


  • R. Michael Anthony




Alaska, arctic fox, Alopex lagopus, home range, telemetry


During the period from 1985 to 1990, radio collars were attached to 61 arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus) in the coastal region of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta in western Alaska. Radio tracking using hand-held receivers from aircraft and from fixed towers was conducted to determine daily and seasonal movements of foxes. Intensive radio tracking of 18 foxes from May through July indicated that males used larger areas (x = 10.22±6.18 sq. km) than females (x = 4.57±1.94 sq. km) regardless of breeding status. Generally foxes were relocated near (x = 3.4±2.4 km) their summer home ranges during other seasons of the year. There were no complex social groups of foxes among the marked population. Foxes did not have a definitive preference for any plant community, probably because of the even distribution and abundance of prey throughout all communities. Thirty foxes were relocated repeatedly during a period of at least 10 months, which included the denning season of one year and the breeding season of the next. Of 24 confirmed deaths of collared foxes, 16 were caused by shooting or trapping by local residents and 8 had unidentified causes. Maximum distance moved between relocations was 48.4 km. Males moved farther from initial capture sites in the winter following capture than did females, largely because of greater than 20 km movements by two foxes. There were no seasonal differences in movements between males and females.