Fennec Fox

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Fennec Fox

Fennec Fox



Vulpes zerda

While studies of captive animals have gone some way towards improving our knowledge of this little-known species (particularly as regards reproduction), much remains unknown of their basic ecology and behaviour in the wild. Work on captive populations is encouraged, but an in-depth study of the species, with particular emphasis on habitat use and population dynamics in the wild is overdue. Field studies underway in Tunisia are starting to redress this situation but undoubtedly more work is needed.

The word “fennec” comes from the Arabic word "fanak," which means fox. The species name, zerda, comes from the Greek "xeros," which means dry, describing their habitat. The fennec fox was formerly placed in the genus Fennecus, but has since been reclassified in the genus Vulpes.

Not much really...People don’t seem to be to worried about them but once the numbers get EXTREMELY low they will regret not drawing attention

2004 Data DeficientData Deficient (Baillie and Groombridge)1996 Data Deficient1996 Data Deficient 1994 Insufficiently Known (Groombridge)1990 Insufficiently Known (IUCN)

Current statistics are not available, but the population is assumed to be adequate based on the observations that the fennec is still commonly trapped and sold commercially in northern Africa. In southern Morocco, fennecs were commonly seen in all sandy areas away from permanent human settlements

Legally protected in Morocco (including Western Sahara), Algeria, Tunisia and EgyptHistorically, the North American Regional Studbook (Bauman 2002) lists some 839 individuals that have been held in the North American region between 1900 and 2001. At the end of 2001, there were 131 individuals in 51 institutions. The Australian Regional Studbook lists 81 historically, with only 12 in the captive population at present. Although fennecs occur in European zoos, there is no studbook or management plan. Fennecs are also kept as pets and bred privately, but these records are not available.

Although their current status isn’t clearly known, wild fennec fox populations are believed to be declining. They are considered at risk, and their trade is regulated by international treaties. Nonetheless, one of the biggest threats is capture for commercial use. Fennec foxes are highly sought after as pets because they are cute and docile in nature. Fennec foxes are also hunted locally for their soft fur. As a result, they seem to be disappearing from areas with human settlements.

Widespread in the sandy deserts and semi-deserts of northern Africa to northern Sinai References to Fennec sightings in the United Arab Emirates were based on an animal in the Al Ain zoo Thesiger (1949) reported Fennec tracks in the region of Abu Dhabi, but there are no confirmed records of the species in the Arabian Peninsula.