INGI AND MÓRI LIVE AT THE ARCTIC FOX CENTRE,
locally named Melrakkasetur Íslands, in Súðavík which is in Iceland’s Westfjords. They’re brothers and they were found orphaned in the mountains in 2015. The Arctic Fox Centre in Iceland is responsible for advising worldwide on Arctic Fox populations and behaviours, and gathers data from a number of sources for this. The centre itself as a tourist attraction, with these two resident foxes, is just a minor part of the operation.
FOR ME AS A TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHER,
it’s fantastic to have connected so well with Midge, the boss, and it means that when I’m up in the Westfjords I can go warm up with coffee and a little play with the lads. I’ve made three trips to Iceland in 2018, and this last one included a stop off to shoot Ingi and Móri, however it didn’t go quite as planned. One of the things I was aware of is that as young foxes they love to play, and with that they’re very curious. Last time I was there I came out of the enclosure with scratches on my hands and tooth marks in my clothes. Móri in particular has a particular attraction to anything dangly, so I prepared myself by tucking in my bootlaces and thinking that would be enough. How wrong I was, it turns out.
MÓRI WAS BUSY HAVING A CLOSE LOOK AT ME AND I WONDERED WHY,
but I was just settling in and letting the boys get used to the intruder in their enclosure. Ingi was busy playing the part of the model whilst Móri kept circling and stalking me, edging closer every now and then. I ignored it and just assumed he was just checking me out. Well what was happening in fact, was the little blue morph was eyeing up my BLACKRAPID Sport Breathe.
I SQUATTED TO GET A BETTER PERSPECTIVE OF INGI LOOKING ALL CUTE AND FLUFFY,
and Móri seized the opportunity to strike! The extension on the back of the strap is secured with a piece of plastic. Well let me tell you, I had no idea it could be detatched! It turns out that the teeth of the Arctic Fox, capable of chewing through bone, are more than good enough to dissect a nylon strap! Initially quite entertained by the fact that Móri wanted to play tug-of-war with me, I was shocked that he very quickly won!
TAKING OFF HIS PRIZE, A PIECE OF MY STRAP,
he proudly wandered off to the other side of the enclosure and was busy chewing away for a few minutes until every last piece was gone save for the piece of plastic which he spat back out. The stomach of the Arctic Fox is pretty hardy, capable of dealing with bone, fur, and whatever else the fox puts into it through nature, so the camera strap would be no problem at all for Móri but it became a problem for me!
Luckily the folks at BLACKRAPID saw the funny side and sent me a replacement, however they did point out to me that it’s not covered by the warranty.
Dave Williams is a travel photographer and social media influencer, writer, educator, and blogger, based in London, UK. His work has featured worldwide in renowned publications and campaigns, and customers including Time, National Geographic, Lonely Planet, The Times, Shell, Marie Claire, and many, many more.