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Red Fox

Vulpes Vulpes - "Aukpilaqtaq"

Population Status


Red foxes (includes silver fox and cross fox) occur throughout the Yukon yet are found sparingly on the Yukon coastal plain and on Herschel Island.

Population size:

An average of fewer than 2 natal dens was found per year during systematic surveys from 1984 to 1988.

Population trend:


Unique or special characteristics:

The red fox is a relatively recent immigrant to the Arctic.

Habitat Features

Red foxes are habitat generalists, exploiting a diversity of prey across a wide range of habitats. On the Yukon North Slope their diet was found to be similar to Arctic foxes. It is unknown whether red foxes and Arctic foxes can successfully coexist at moderate to high densities. Habitat limitations are unknown for the red fox on the North Slope. Adequate denning habitat may limit the red fox in the same way it does the Arctic fox on the Yukon North Slope.



Inuvialuit have exclusive rights to harvest furbearers on the Yukon North Slope.

Very few red foxes are believed to be trapped on the Yukon North Slope. From 1988 to 1999 Inuvialuit harvest data was collected through the Inuvialuit Harvest Study. In the period from 1988 to 1997, the average annual harvest reported by Aklavik residents was 81. Almost all of the annual reported harvest is believed to have been taken away from the Yukon North Slope. The Yukon Government, in partnership with the Aklavik HTC, has been collecting furbearer harvest data from Inuvialuit residents of Aklavik since 2001. Harvest information recorded includes species, date, location, sex and maturity of the animal. Funding and support for the collection of harvest data is supplied through the IFA and other agencies.

Harvesting Rights
Ivvavik National Park Exclusive None Permitted
Herschel Island Territorial Park Exclusive None Permitted
East of the Babbage River exclusive None permitted
Adjoining NWT Exclusive None permitted


Regulations under Yukon Wildlife Act, NWT Wildlife Act and National Parks Act apply in their respective jurisdictions.

Other resident harvesting

Ivvavik National Park

none permitted

Herschel Island

none permitted

East of the Babbage River

none permitted

Adjoining NWT

none permitted


Red foxes, like Arctic foxes, habituate well to people and are loyal to den sites.


Habitat loss of restricted denning areas.

Species at Risk Status


General Status: Secure

Research and Monitoring

Population monitoring:

There is no annual monitoring of red foxes or their dens. There is an ongoing program to record species observed on Herschel Island.


Information about red foxes was collected incidental to research on Arctic foxes from 1984-1990.


Management Jurisdictions
Ivvavik National Park IFA Parks Canada None Core calving area, summering
Hershel Island Territorial Park Yukon Wildlife Act YTG Summering
East of the Babbage River National Parks Act YTG Summering
Adjoining NWT NWT Wildlife Act GNWT Summering, spring and fall migration

To meet conservation goals of the IFA, the co-management bodies are mandated to determine and recommend (to the Government of Yukon, GNWT and Parks Canada) a total allowable harvest and/ or promote research, if and when required.

Community-based Information

In 2003, the Wildlife Management Advisory Council (North Slope) and the Aklavik Hunters and Trappers Committee undertook a project to record traditional knowledge of certain birds and animals on the Yukon North Slope. The observations, comments and concerns expressed by Aklavik residents as part of this study were as follows:

  • More coloured foxes are seen on the southeast compared to the northwest side of the North Slope.
  • Numbers are low now, but were high in 1998, and vary between years.
  • Tracks are frequently seen on spring bear hunts, mostly inland in foothills and mountains.
  • Sick animals are occasionally trapped and one was found dead near a cabin.

Community-based information on this species may also be found in the reports of the annual community-based monitoring program conducted in Aklavik and neighbouring communities by the Arctic Borderlands Ecological Knowledge Co-op.

Related Literature and Information Sources

Jingfors, K. 1989. Wildlife of Northern Yukon National Park, Chapter 9 in: Northern Yukon National Park resource description and analysis. Natural Resource Conservation Section, Canadian Parks Service, Prairie and Northern Region, Winnipeg.

Joint Secretariat, 2003. Inuvialuit Harvest Study, Data and Methods Report 1988 - 1997. Inuvik, NT.

Jung, T. 2007. Personal communication, Government of Yukon, Department of Environment.

Maraj, R. 2007. Personal communication, Government of Yukon, Department of Environment.

Smits, C., B. Slough and C. Yasui. 1989. Summer food habits of sympatric Arctic foxes and red foxes in the northern Yukon Territory. Canadian Field Naturalist 103 (3):363-367.

Smits, C. and B. Slough, 1993. Abundance and summer occupancy of arctic fox, Alopex lagopus, and red fox, Vulpes vulpes, dens in the northern Yukon Territory, 1984-1990. Canadian Field Naturalist. 107(1) pp. 13-18.

Wildlife Management Advisory Council (North Slope) and the Aklavik Hunters and Trappers Committee. 2003. Aklavik Inuvialuit describe the status of certain birds and animals on the Yukon North Slope, March, 2003. Final Report. Wildlife Management Advisory Council (North Slope), Whitehorse, Yukon.

Wildlife Management Advisory Council (North Slope) 1999. Yukon North Slope research review tables.

Red Fox Yawning

Red Fox Yawning

Craig Macthans