An Arctic fox just broke records by traveling from Norway to Canada in 76 days, racking up 3,506 kilometers (about 2,179 miles).
According to research published by Polar Research, the young female began her trek on March 26, 2018 in Spitzbergen, the largest island in the Svalbard archipelago. Svalbard is located in the Polar Basin, between mainland Norway and the North Pole, and is "seasonally linked" to Greenland and North America due to the forming and melting of sea ice.
The fox traveled an average of 46.3 kilometers (about 28.8 miles) a day. At her peak speed, she ran 155 kilometers (about 96 miles) in one day when trekking across an ice sheet in northernwestern Greenland. Her increased speed may have been due to lack of food in the area.
"This is the fastest movement rate recorded for this species, 1.4 times faster than the maximum rate recorded in the previously reported long-distance movement of an adult male Arctic fox in Alaska," researchers Eva Fuglei and Arnaud Tarroux reported in their study. The fox reached Ellesmere Island in Nunavut, Canada on June 10, 2018.
The speedy creature's movement is also "among the longest dispersal events ever recorded for an Arctic fox." Due to her young age, scientists believe natal dispersal, an animal's movement from its birthplace to a potential place of breeding, explains her behavior.
Scientists from the Norwegian Polar Institute were able to track the fox's migration after equipping her with a satellite transmitter in July 2017 as part of a larger study to research "Arctic fox spatial ecology." They began following her on March 1, 2018 when she left her natal area in western Spitzbergen. Between then and the day they stopped tracking her, July 1, 2018, the fox had traveled 4,416 kilometers (about 2,744 miles).
After reaching Canada, the fox stayed in the Fosheim Peninusla area. Because the satellite transmitter stopped working on Feb. 6, 2019, scientists do not know what happened to her.
This is not the first time a female Arctic fox has traveled such long distances. According to Fuglei and Tarroux, one had previously traveled 4,599 kilometers over the course of five months.