Upper Arctic tundra, late morning, minus zero degrees. My arctic fox images expedition has taken longer than expected. Capturing these fox images for my art website has given me quite the workout. The fox and I have stalked one another for over an hour. I’m growing weary as my cumbersome thermal clothing weighs me down. Although I haven’t been following him over a long-distance I am exhausted and ready for a nap. He, however, is sitting down and taking it easy. How I wish I had the agile body of a white fox. Thankfully the chase is over and I can capture these spectacular fox images. After our photo session, the fox went on his way, surely relieved that our workout was over.
Why Is the Tundra Fox Interesting?
What inspired me to capture these fox photographs? These animals are underdogs, but not the ones you might expect. These cat-like mammals are the prey of polar bears, wolves, and even owls but they effortlessly thrive. At first glance, they are cute, cuddly, fur-encased creatures about the size of a small pug or chihuahua. Although my fox snapshots showcase them as cute and cuddly, once you see them in action you learn the truth. They are masters in the art of killing.
The hunt begins with a rustle. The tundra fox’s keen sense of hearing allows it to detect the precise location of small animals buried under the snow. After detecting its prey, the white fox springs into the air and violently pounces on the unsuspecting animal below. If there is enough prey available, it repeats this process eighty to ninety times in one day. Talk about one powerful underdog. If there is not enough quarry available for the fox during the winter, it takes on a courageous feat. It follows the notorious polar bear and feeds on the left-over meat of its catch. What makes this courageous? you might ask. The white fox is a prey item for the polar bear. This means that every hunting appointment with the polar bear could lead to the fox’s demise.
Of Least Concern but Danger Still Looms
Another compelling quality is this creature’s adaptivity. Unlike its other family members in the canid family, it blends into its surroundings like a chameleon. Its coat becomes elegantly white during the frigid winters and shifts to a grey or brownish color during the summers. Unfortunately, in the late 1800s, the arctic fox’s coat grew in popularity. The fashion industry took advantage of the extraordinarily warm, white pelt. Capturing, breeding and skinning these animals on fur farms became normal practice. By the early 1900s, the fur trade reached its peak. The white fox fur trade has tapered off in North America but has prevailed in other regions of the world. In 2018, undercover reporters exposed the abusive conditions on fur factory farms in Finland and Poland. To this day, animal protection organizations are still fighting against the fur industry’s abusive practices.
Outside of the fur trade, the arctic fox has other factors that threaten its existence. Although the scientific community lists this fox’s survival as the least concern, climate change will impact this savvy arctic creature. Arctic fox populations primarily depend on small animals for food. Scarce prey populations driven by climate change will surely threaten their livelihood.
The White Fox in Ourselves
The arctic is a very special place. With most of it being uninhabited by humans, a certain silence washes over the landscape. This silence begs contemplation from those that witness it. While on my expedition to take white fox images, my mind reflected on what made humans and arctic foxes alike. Resilience is the first word that came to mind. Surviving in one of the most extreme places on earth is not an easy task. This fox has not only adapted to every scenario that nature has given it but has thrived.
Every day, each one of us fights our own battle, whether it is internal or external. Some of us experience the coldest conditions of the human experience and survive. The white fox is equipped with the tools needed for survival and we possess survival tools, too. Many times we not only survive, but we thrive. This desire to overcome and smile while doing it is one thing that humans and arctic foxes have in common.
Bringing the Tundra Fox to You
Sharing the essence of animals like the tundra fox is part of my motivation for having an art website. EJAZ KHAN EARTH is a place of exploration. I want people to see themselves in each animal that I photograph. Once we can see ourselves in other beings, the desire to preserve and protect them grows. I capture every photo hoping to spark that desire. I wish for these fox pictures to remind you of your resiliency and inspire you to make a difference.
View our Arctic Wolf Short Film
Read our Arctic Story Covered by Nikon
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