Saturday, June 30, 2012

WWF - Arctic fox 19.3.1993

With over one billion stamps printed by the end of March 2012, the WWF Conservation Stamp Collection is the largest thematic collection in the world. Close to 2,000 different postally valid WWF stamps have been issued since 1983 in 220 countries. Most species depicted are at risk of extinction in the country of issue and in other cases it is the animal's habitat that is endangered.

Arctic fox. The arctic fox, also known as the white fox, polar fox or snow fox, is a small fox native to Arctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere and is common throughout the Arctic tundra biome. The arctic fox lives in some of the most frigid extremes on the planet. Among its adaptations for cold survival are its deep, thick fur, a system of countercurrent heat exchange in the circulation of paws to retain core temperature, and a good supply of body fat. The fox has a low surface area to volume ratio, as evidenced by its generally rounded body shape, short muzzle and legs, and short, thick ears. Since less of its surface area is exposed to the arctic cold, less heat escapes the body. Its furry paws allow it to walk on ice in search of food. The arctic fox has such keen hearing that it can precisely locate the position of prey under the snow. When it finds prey, it pounces and punches through the snow to catch its victim. Its fur changes colour with the seasons: in the winter it is white to blend in with snow, while in the summer it is brown.
The conservation status of the species is good, except for the Scandinavian mainland population where it is endangered. The total population estimate in Finland, Norway, and Sweden is a mere 120 adult individuals. The main threat to the Arctic fox has historically been hunting, although this has decreased in line with the decline in the fur trade. The Arctic fox remains the single most important terrestrial game species and is still hunted by indigenous peoples. Other threats include diseases and the spread North of the larger and more aggressive red fox, which has encroached on arctic fox territory in some areas. This is an indirect threat to the arctic fox as a result of climate change.

WWF's work in the Arctic region aims to ensure the fragile ecosystems are supported and protected. WWF's work to mitigate the effects of climate change aims to ensure that species such as the Arctic fox are not adversely affected by changes to the climate. This lovely First day cover with extremely nice stamps were given to me by Pia. It was issued in Finland on 19.3.1993.

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