Garbage consumption by Arctic terrestrial predators in one of the most pristine land areas on Earth

Araceli Gort Esteve, Abrham Muzit , Christian Carøe, Johannes Måsviken, Susana Freire, Nicolas Lecomte, Patrícia Pečnerová, Anders Angerbjörn, Jordi Bartolome Filella, Karin Norén, Fredrik Dalerum*

*Autor corresponent d’aquest treball

Producció científica: Contribució a una revistaArticleRecercaAvaluat per experts

1 Citació (Scopus)
5 Descàrregues (Pure)


Garbage may cause substantial environmental perturbations, in part because of its consumption by wildlife. Such consumption may have direct health implications for animals and may also influence trophic relationships. Even in pristine Arctic ecosystems, wildlife feeding in marine environments consume garbage in the form of plastic debris transported by ocean currents. We show that Arctic wildlife in pristine terrestrial environments may also ingest garbage or food items derived from abandoned camp sites. We found the remains of a chocolate wrapper and a milk powder bag in two Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) scats and a piece of cloth in an Arctic wolf (Canis lupus arctos) scat collected near Nares Strait, northern Greenland, one of the most pristine terrestrial wilderness regions on Earth. Found on Washington Land and associated with long-abandoned camp sites, these three scats were among 657 Arctic fox scats and 92 wolf scats collected as part of a larger study. Our study demonstrates that these two highly opportunistic predators managed to consume garbage despite the almost complete lack of human activity in this High-Arctic region. Our results highlight that abandoned anthropogenic material in the High Arctic may function as a source of garbage for local terrestrial wildlife over extended time periods, and that garbage consumption may become a potential issue if human activity in remote Arctic regions increases.

Idioma originalEnglish
Número d’article9756
RevistaPolar Research
Estat de la publicacióPublicada - 5 de gen. 2024


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