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Swift Fox

Like many grassland species, the small and charismatic swift fox has been displaced from more than 60 percent of its historic range.

Swift foxes weigh about 5 lbs (smaller than your average house cat) and pose no threat to humans or livestock. Their diet consists largely of small mammals like mice, rabbits, and prairie dogs, as well as insects and plants in the summer months. They are classified in Montana as “vulnerable because of rarity or restricted range and/or other factors.” Today there remains a distribution gap between the population of swift foxes along the Montana-Canada border and that of the core population in Wyoming, South Dakota, and south to New Mexico and Texas.

RECENT WORK

As a part of our mission to restore native prairie species, American Prairie Reserve is developing plans to request permission from Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) to reintroduce swift foxes to our deeded lands. We also are collaborating with Fort Belknap Department of Fish and Wildlife to reintroduce swift foxes on Fort Belknap Indian Reservation.

Swift foxes are native to Montana, but suffered heavily due to habitat loss and poisoning efforts aimed at larger predators. They were believed to be extinct in Montana by 1969. Thanks to reintroduction efforts in Canada, Fort Peck, and the Blackfeet Reservation, there are now a small number of swift foxes in Montana. State records and a camera trapping survey conducted in 2015 by the World Wildlife Fund, Oregon State University and their partners indicate that are no established populations of swift foxes in Blaine, Phillips, or Valley Counties south of the Milk River.

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks has the ultimate say in wildlife projects in the state, including this one. If our request moves forwards, we expect there will be a public comment period before a final decision is made by the state’s Fish & Wildlife Commission.

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Swift Fox Facts

Download the fact sheet to learn more about Swift Foxes on American Prairie Reserve.