What is that in the distance? Is that a coyote or a fox?
A red fox.
Having been my first time seeing a red fox in person, I’d have to wait till I got home to verify the sighting.
I had known there are wolves and coyotes in Jasper but was surprised to see a red fox in Jasper National Park.
But there it stood at the Fiddle River lookout on Miette Hot Springs Road.
The fox sniffed around a garbage container for food, ignoring my slowly approaching car except for a quick glance.
Seeing a red fox takes a lot of luck. They tend to travel alone and cover a large territory. Unlike the bighorn sheep and elk who are known to congregate in predictable locations, the red fox will go where the red fox wants to go.
They tend to be active at dawn and dusk. It was challenging to take a picture from far away in the low light conditions.
The red fox (Vulpes vulpes) covers a wide range of geography in the northern hemisphere. According to info on Wikipedia, the territory range of an individual red fox can be as big as 50 km² (19 square miles) or smaller than 12 km² (4.6 sq mi) when there’s lots of food to be found.
The author of a fascinating article here (MountainNature.com) about the relationship between wolves, coyotes and fox in the Canadian Rockies speculates that there may be a relationship between the sizes of wolf, coyote and red fox populations. As the wolf population in the Canadian Rockies increases, the coyote population is reduced. Because coyotes compete directly with the red fox, the red fox population increases. So, with the recent increase in wolf populations comes an increase in red fox populations.
Maybe that means more red fox sightings in Jasper National Park.
Keep a lookout during your animal spotting adventures.