Red Fox | UPSC

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Red Fox _ UPSC IAS

Red Fox | UPSC


Red fox displacing blue counterparts in Norway’s alpine areas

      WHY IN NEWS:

Straight away from DownToEarth !

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3 : Conservation of Flora and Fauna : IUCN


Litter left by humans as well as roads are aiding the red fox in its spread, says study


  • The red fox, one of the most widespread carnivores in the world.
  • Its range has increased alongside human expansion, having been introduced to Australia, where it is considered harmful to native mammals and bird populations.

Due to its presence in Australia, it is included on the list of the “world’s 100 worst invasive species“.


  • They are present across the entire Northern Hemisphere including most of North America, Europe and Asia plus parts of Northern Africa.


  • The species has a long history of association with humans, having been extensively hunted as a pest and furbearer for many centuries.

Because of its widespread distribution and large population, the red fox is one of the most important furbearing animals harvested for the fur trade

  • It has extensively benefited from the presence of human habitation, and has successfully colonised many suburban and urban areas.
  • Domestication of the red fox is also underway in Russia, and has resulted in the domesticated red fox.


  • Red foxes are usually together in pairs or small groups consisting of families, such as a mated pair and their young, or a male with several females having kinship ties.

The species primarily feeds on small rodents, though it may also target rabbits, game birds, reptiles, invertebrates and young ungulates.

  • Fruit and vegetable matter is also eaten sometimes.
  • Although the red fox tends to kill smaller predators, including other fox species, it is vulnerable to attack from larger predators.



      IASbhai WINDUP: 


Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, found that more cabins were being built in the alpine region for tourism purposes.

  • These cabins and the roads built to reach them were playing a major role in causing the spread of the red and the decline of the blue fox, according to his study.
  • Both, red and blue foxes were attracted to the roads built by humans.
  • The red foxes used them to make their way from lower altitude areas to the mountainous ones.

These roads were also littered with garbage and refuse left by tourists as well as roadkills due to accidents of animals with cars.

  • Consequently, these roads meant food for the foxes as well as other scavengers like crows.
  • The density of red foxes increased closer to roads while that of blue ones decreased.
  • It was not because blue foxes were not attracted to trash but rather because the red fox, being bigger than the blue, tended to dominate it in these areas.
  • The blue fox is already endangered and the spread of the red fox could not just impact it .


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