By Amanda Froelich,
A group of fishermen in pursuit of crabs spotted a black spot atop an iceberg. Puzzled by the odd sight, they decided to sail closer. Lo and behold, it was a starving Arctic fox.
“We seen something on the ice. Wasn’t sure what it was,” Alan Russel told CBC’s Labrador Morning. “So we got up closer to it. It was a little fox, Arctic fox. And he wasn’t very big. He was soaking wet, and the gulls was trying to pick at him.”
Though furry critters aren’t generally part of a crab fishing boat’s bycatch, the crew from southern Labrador knew they had to do something. So, they took turns trying to pluck the frightened creature from the iceberg.
When that didn’t work, they used the boat to knock down the mushroom-shaped iceberg. Once the fox was in the water, the men carefully “fished” him from the water with a net. Said Russell: ”He was in pretty hard shape because it was so cold in the water.”
The skittish fox was given food and accommodation but refused to eat. When the ship stopped in Pinsent’s Arm for supplies, the crew purchased sawdust to put in the creature’s plastic tote pan. The goal was to dry him out, and it worked. Most importantly, they were able to entice the creature to eat Vienna sausages.
As the crew traveled to William’s Harbour, they continued to feed and look after the fox.
“He wasn’t aggressive at all,” Russell said. “After a while, when he was coming around, he liked us more, because we were feeding him. And he didn’t mind us after.”
Russell believes the fox was looking for food on solid sea ice when he got swept away on a floating piece. It’s lucky the crew found the fox, for Russell estimates he had only one day left.
“He probably only had another day or so on the ice floe, or it would have foundered,” said Russell. ”And the way that the wind was, the ice was probably never going to go back into land. He’s a pretty lucky guy.”
The last time the fox was spotted, it was exploring old dog houses in William’s Harbor. “He looks a lot healthier now. He’s running around everywhere, so he should be pretty good to go now,” said Russell.
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Source: Labrador Morning
Image credits: Alan Russell
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