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Arctic foxes are 'ecosystem engineers' who grow beautiful gardens

We often think of gardening as a uniquely human endeavour. Yet, you may be surprised to discover that other animals -- from ants, to termites and bowerbirds -- also engage in a kind of gardening. Biologists from University of Manitoba, Canada also point to the Arctic fox as yet another furry animal who, thanks to their natural behaviour, cultivate green gardens around their dens in the otherwise desolate tundra.

The scientists' findings, published in Scientific Reports, describe how organic waste from the foxes and their kills make the area surrounding their dens more fertile, leading to almost three times as many dune grasses, willows and wildflowers to sprout up, compared to the rest of the tundra.

Charles Barilleaux

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