Swift Fox


  • Status
    Least Concern
  • Scientific Name
    Vulpes velox
  • Height
    12 inches
  • Weight
    5-7 pounds
  • Length
    23-34 inches
  • Habitats
    Short- and mixed-grass prairies of the Great Plains of North America

Although historically common and widely distributed in short- and mixed-grass prairies of the Great Plains, swift foxes have experienced significant population declines and are now estimated to occupy less than half of their historic range in the United States. In the face of this enormous decline, a multi-stakeholder, comprehensive approach is required to restore swift fox populations across the Northern Great Plains and beyond. Collaboration among tribal communities, universities, conservation organizations, state and government agencies, and private landowners is essential for the swift fox to make a viable comeback.

Eight species making a comeback

Recovering species is essential for effective wildlife conservation and critical to the work WWF does around the world. Here are just a few of our favorite, recent recovery stories.

Banke Nepal camera trap

Why They Matter

  • Where present, swift foxes are indicators an intact grassland ecosystem. Conserving habitat for and populations of swift foxes benefits other wildlife species that share similar habitat, such as prairie dogs, ground squirrels, and grassland birds.


  • Extinction Risk Least Concern
    1. EX

      No reasonable doubt that the last individual has died

    2. EW
      Extinct in the Wild

      Known only to survive in cultivation, in captivity or as a naturalised population

    3. CR
      Critically Endangered

      Facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the Wild

    4. EN

      Facing a high risk of extinction in the Wild

    5. VU

      Facing a high risk of extinction in the Wild

    6. NT
      Near Threatened

      Likely to qualify for a threatened category in the near future

    7. LC
      Least Concern

      Does not qualify for Critically Endangered, Endangered, Vulnerable, or Near Threatened

Swift fox pup pair

WWF put collars on these foxes to track species population and distribution.

Current threats to swift foxes include lack of suitable habitat, predation by coyotes, and vehicle collisions.

What WWF Is Doing


To ensure the long-term survival and stability of swift fox populations range-wide, WWF works with a diverse group of stakeholders on three priorities:

  • Determining the current swift fox distribution in the Northern Great Plains.
  • Monitoring the status of swift fox populations in the Northern Great Plains.
  • Identifying areas for potential reintroductions to connect swift fox populations.


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