INTERREG BOTNIA-ATLANTICA AND INTERREG NORD 2014-2020 42 Keeping the arctic fox alive Thanks to Felles Fjellrev Nord II, the arctic fox is still alive in the Scandinavian mountains. But the situation remains critical. – I am so proud that we still have arctic foxes in northernmost Sweden, Finland, and Norway. But the current situation is a concrete example of what global climate change can lead to. It is a message that I believe everyone benefits from listening to, says David Bell, project manager of Interreg Nord cross-border project Felles Fjellrev Nord II at the County Administrative Board of Norrbotten. The arctic fox was once common in the Scandinavian mountains. It has been estimated that there were 10 000 arctic foxes in Scandinavia during the 19th century. Because of extensive hunting, it almost became exterminated. Today, there are only about 450 adult arctic foxes in Sweden, Norway and Finland altogether. Due to the global climate change, life is getting tougher. The arctic fox is dependent on the supply of small rodents, especially lemmings. When the precipitation more and more often falls as rain instead of snow, the ground freezes to ice – a big disadvantage to small rodents. A consequence of this is that the lemming cycles become less reliable, and the arctic fox doesn’t have regular access to food. Rising temperatures also mean that the red fox can spread in mountain areas and compete with the arctic fox by taking over its territories. The cross-border cooperation Felles Fjellrev was created to improve the conditions. Over the years, a handful of projects have gone under the name Felles Fjellrev, focusFELLES FJELLREV NORD II Lead partner: County Administrative Board of Norrbotten, Sweden Project partners: Stockholm University, Sweden, Metsähallitus Lapin luontopalvelut, Finland. Self-financed partners: Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA), UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø, Norway. Priority area: Culture and environment.