We can’t make this stuff up. Apparently this photo, which took the photographer “three hours in -22°F” to capture, says something about global warming:
— TckTckTck (@tcktcktck) October 16, 2015
It’s about global warming, you see, because the Red fox isn’t supposed to be this far north:
The stunning image also shows one of the impacts of climate change. Red foxes are invading the range of Arctic foxes as the temperature warm, putting the two foxes in direct competition for resources. Red foxes are larger and can out compete Arctic foxes for limited resources. Declining snowpack also makes the Arctic fox’s white coat less of an asset when hunting, particularly in fall and spring, while changing plant cover on the tundra is furthering altering prime Arctic fox habitat.
His white coat wasn’t of much help hiding from the Red fox, though.
We’re not even sure if it’s true that the Red fox isn’t supposed to be this far north. Canadian Geographic says Red foxes “are found in all of Canada’s provinces and territories, making them one of the country’s most wide-spread mammals.”
And it seems that tying the photo to global warming — even if it’s not proven —actually helped it win:
One of the contest’s judges, Kathy Moran of National Geographic, said Gutoski’s photo tells a story of climate change.
“The immediate impact of this photograph is that it appears as if the red fox is slipping out of its winter coat,” she said. “What might simply be a straightforward interaction between predator and prey struck the jury as a stark example of climate change, with red foxes encroaching on Arctic fox territory.”
But fear not, friends of the Arctic fox. It’s listed as a “least concern” species, which means it’s nowhere near being endangered because of global warming, hungry Red foxes or anything else.