Swift foxes, recently believed to have been extinct in Canada, have made a shocking return.
Swift foxes are small, cat sized mammals, which are found in the southern States of the USA, but were thought to have disappeared from their Canadian habitat some time ago (around the 1930s, when agriculture destroyed much of their natural habitat).
On Saturday, August 4th, Carys Richards, a representative of the Nature Conservancy of Canada spoke with Global News Canada, about a recent discovery which has changed the narrative.
A den swift foxes has been spotted in southern Alberta, where they once flourished (Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba were the areas in which the animal was previously found in abundance), but now there are estimated to be ‘about 100 swift foxes living in Alberta’s wild‘.
“There’s a small but relatively stable population that seems to be thriving,” says Richards, “Swift foxes are North America’s smallest canine and they are the wild dog that spends the most time in its den. They’re also nocturnal predators so sometimes it can be really hard to see them.”
Richards enthused that the growth in population stemmed from animals which were released from captivity, but added that monitoring them may prove to be challenging.
“So, not only are they extremely rare, but the chances of actually spotting them can be quite difficult. But by conserving grasslands, that’s how we’re going to provide habitats to species like the swift fox.”
‘It’s now more important than ever to think about how we’re conserving natural land — especially with all the agricultural use, Canada’s grasslands are the “world’s most endangered ecosystem.” – ‘Kaylen Small, reporter for Global News Canada
“This makes the protection of Canada’s grasslands so important for the survival of species like the swift fox that depend on these habitats for their survival,” added Richards.