Arctic foxes are abundant in many areas. Their numbers do not seem to be greatly affected by trapping. In the past 50 years, the annual harvest of white foxes in Alaska has ranged from a high of nearly 17,000 in 1925 to a low of 500 in 1956. The average is about 4,000 pelts per year. The demand for arctic fox fur has diminished in recent years, but the sale of their pelts is important to the economy of many coastal Native villages. Arctic foxes are generally less wary of humans than their close relative, the red fox, and sometimes become nuisances around settlements when fed. Arctic foxes are susceptible to canine distemper and rabies and the latter can be transmitted to humans and dogs through bites. Foxes that approach humans without fear or show aggression may have rabies and should be killed (without damaging the head) and wildlife authorities contacted. If a person or pet is bitten, the fox carcass must be submitted to health authorities for rabies testing.
Contact with saliva and brain tissue of these foxes should be avoided.