The Arctic Fox Center

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The Arctic Fox Center (Icelandic: Melrakkasetur) is a research center with an enclosed exhibition and café in the municipality Súðavík in the Westfjords in Iceland. It focuses on the Arctic Fox (Vulpus lagopus) which is the only native terrestrial mammal in Iceland.[1] The Center was founded in 2007 by locals who are interested in the arctic fox. It has a strong emphasis on ecotourism. The center is a non-profit-partner of 1% for the planet and a member of The Wild North.

The Arctic Fox Center in Súðavík.

The house[edit]

The house is located in the new part of Súðavík, on the land of the former farm Eyrardalur. It was built in the last decade of the 19th century and has been renovated recently by the authorities of Súðavík.[2]


The museum consists of two parts. The first part deals with the biology and natural history of the Arctic Fox including distribution, genetics, diet, details about their behaviour and the difference between 'white' and 'blue' morph Arctic foxes - the lesser known blue morph being especially significant to the region. The second deals with the social history of Iceland in relation to Arctic foxes, a complex history that reaches back over 1000 years. This part of the exhibition explores Iceland's fox-hunting tradition which continues to affect Iceland's relationship with the fox. Both the social and natural history parts of the museum give context to the scientific research conducted by the center (and associates), of which there are also exhibits on display. The information is available in Icelandic, English, and German and informative tours are also often available.

The museum of the Arctic Fox Center.

Research and volunteering[edit]

The research focuses on three main fields. The interaction between foxes and tourists, the dissections on carcasses from foxhunters, and the population estimation in the Westfjords.[3]

Most of the field work to observe the population and the effect of tourism is carried out in the nature reserve Hornstrandir which is a popular hiking destination. Recently other areas in the Westfjords became also subject of fieldwork. To observe the foxes several volunteers are engaged every year.[4] The aim is to establish a sustainable wildlife tourism, since there is an increasing interest of tourists in the foxes, especially to take pictures. The first studies were already published and they show the necessity to carry on.[5] In addition The Arctic Fox Center is also member of The Wild North and a non-profit-partner of 1% for the planet.[6][7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Melrakkasetur - About us". Retrieved May 18, 2011. 
  2. ^ "Melrakkasetur - About us". Retrieved May 18, 2011. 
  3. ^ "The Aim of The Arctic Fox Center". Retrieved May 18, 2011. 
  4. ^ Parnell, Fran; Presser, Brandon (2010). Iceland. Lonely Planet. pp. 188, 190. ISBN 978-1-74104-455-3. Retrieved May 18, 2011. 
  5. ^ Unnsteinsdóttir, Ester Rut; Katrínardóttir, Borgný. "Tourist effects on the behaviour of denning arctic foxes in Iceland - a pilot study". Retrieved May 18, 2011. 
  6. ^ "The Wild North". Retrieved May 18, 2011. 
  7. ^ "1% for the planet". Retrieved May 18, 2011. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 66°01′50″N 22°59′28″W / 66.030417°N 22.990973°W / 66.030417; -22.990973