A starving and cold Arctic fox clinging to a teetering iceberg has been saved in a daring rescue by a couple fishing for crabs.
Mallory Harrigan and her boyfriend Cliff Russell were four miles off mainland Labrador in William’s Harbour, Canada, when they spotted what they thought was a baby seal.
However, upon closer inspection, they realized it was a starving and helpless Arctic fox stuck on the iceberg.
Can you see the stranded Arctic fox on the iceberg?
At first, Mallory Harrigan and boyfriend Cliff Russell thought the creature (circled) they were looking at was a baby seal but soon realized it was a stranded Arctic fox
They used the vessel, the Northern Swan, to break up the iceberg before scooping up the fox, and bringing it safely on board (above)
Mallory Harrigan and her boyfriend Cliff Russell were fishing for crabs four miles off Labrador in William’s Harbour, Canada
The kindhearted crew, which included Russell’s son Alan, decided to attempt a daring rescue, using their vessel, the Northern Swan, to batter the iceberg.
They had to ram the ice to break it up, and then scoop the animal up from the cold water.
Harrigan told Bored Panda the fox ‘probably got stuck out there looking for a meal’.
She added: ‘Cliff says he thinks he got there to check out a bit of meat on the ice and it broke apart, sending him to sea.
‘He fought and fought to get away until he literally couldn’t move anymore.’
Harrigan, who lives in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, explained that her boyfriend, who owns the Northern Swan, led the daring rescue to bring the stranded animal aboard.
‘Alan Russell is his son, who was with us that day, and he caught him in the dip-net once we were able to get him in the water.
The soaked, cold animal cowering on the boat. Mallory Harrigan said: ‘Cliff says he thinks he got there to check out a bit of meat on the ice and it broke apart, sending him to sea’
The rescued fox was placed into wood shavings to help it dry and get warm again
The crew dropped off the fox at a dog house on a nearby island where there was food and shelter
‘I was able to feed and water him once he woke up.’
After refusing to eat the bread and crackers the rescuers initially offered, the Arctic fox finally succumbed to another treat – a tin of Vienna sausages.
She added: ‘We all then released him onto an island in our harbour.’
The crew dropped off the fox in a dog house on an island where Harrigan told vocm.com there were ponds and ‘lots of little critters and stuff’ to sustain it.
More on the Arctic fox
The Arctic fox is native to Labrador, and occasionally arrives on the island via pack ice in winter and spring.
They prefer barren lands, where snow is hard and shallow, as well as around the tops of ponds or river banks.
The animal eats lemmings, mice, nesting and molting birds, eggs and flightless young. In marine areas, small marine animals and fish make up their diet.
They will eat the remains of seals and seal pups if stranded on an ice floe at sea.
Arctic foxes often follow polar bears to scavenge on seal kill remains.
They live for three or four years in the wild, compared to up to 14 years in captivity.
In winter, the fox has a thick white coat. In May, they shed to show two-tone brown fur. Their thick coat and padded feet help keep them insulated during the year.
Source: Fisheries and Land Resources