The Slow Return of the Swift Fox

An extirpated species makes a comeback

Outfoxing Extinction

The swift fox -- or vulpes velox as it is known in the scientific world -- is the smallest North American wild dog. This nocturnal, cat-sized canine weighs a mere 2 to 3 kilograms, and eats small mammals, carrion (dead animals), birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, insects, grasses, and berries. The average swift fox breeds once a year between December and March. Litters of 2 to 5 pups are born between March and mid-May. The swift fox can live 3 to 6 years in the wild, and up to 14 years in captivity. In the 1930s, programs aimed at controlling gray wolf and coyote populations inadvertently killed many swift foxes. By 1938, the entire Canadian swift fox population had been wiped out. In 1983, swift foxes were reintroduced into Canada from the United States. Now there is a small population of 150-200 swift foxes in the southern prairies of Alberta and Saskatchewan.

How to Help the Swift Fox

By donating to the Cochrane Ecological Institute (www.ceinst.org), you can help fund the reintroduction of more swift foxes to Alberta. Even if you are unable to donate money, you can let your MLA know that you think that the Alberta government should protect the swift fox and its habitat.
Written by Olivia Neufeldt 8-4   Language Arts   March 6, 2013