This is the moment officers patrolling the border between China and North Korea unexpectedly encounter a lone Arctic fox which is thought to have been abandoned in the snowy mountains by its previous owners.
Footage going viral online with over five million views shows border officers in China’s north-eastern province of Jilin coming across the adorable Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopu) at the Tianchi outpost inside the Changbai Mountains.
Video Credit: AsiaWire
Tianchi is known as Heaven Lake in English, and is a crater lake inside China’s 190,000-hectare Changbai Mountain Nature Reserve bordering North Korea.
Its immaculate and glassy surface can be seen in the background of the video, which shows border officers interacting with the fox, and one even feeding the animal some of his food.
Images of the unusual encounter have been widely shared and commented on on Chinese social media. However, one local expert has told local media the fox’s appearance is the result of an illegal release by its previous owners.
This also appeared to explain why the animal was not shy and readily approached the border officers when they offered it food.
Wang Haijun, wildlife director at Jilin’s provincial Wildlife Rescue and Breeding Research Center, noted: “This snow fox is not wild and reared in captivity.
“Generally speaking, Arctic foxes will find it difficult to survive in the Changbai Mountains, and may also cause an imbalance in the local ecosystem.
“There are no wild arctic foxes in China. It is illegal to release them into the wild.”
According to reports from the border officers, the animal native to the Arctic tundra appeared healthy and unharmed.
It later wandered away from the outpost on its own, and it is unclear when it might have been set free in the mountains.
Changbai Mountain Nature Reserve was established in 1960 and is home to species as Siberian tigers (Panthera tigris altaica) and Amur leopards (Panthera pardus orientalis), among others.
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