Is it possible to tame a fox like the Little Prince did? Science says it is. In recent years, there has been increasing curiosity for taming wild animals. In some instances, this curiosity boldly crosses over to experimentation like in the case of a special breed of foxes in Russia.
The Belyaev foxes are a unique breed of foxes in the world. Unlike typical wild foxes, Belyaev foxes are used to humans and can interact with them without showing any aggression or fear. They’re the result of a selective breeding process spearheaded by Russian geneticist, Dmitry Belyaev in 1959. Belyaev believed that domesticated animals like dogs and cats are friendly to people because of they had “friendliness” genes that evolved over time. The experiment involved breeding only those foxes which showed the least fear and aggression towards Belyaev and his team. The next generation of foxes continue to be selected this way, and by 2004, 70% of foxes in the experiment reached elite level of friendliness. The experiment is still currently ongoing at the Institute of Cytology and Genetics in Novosibirsk, Russia.
To learn more about Belyaev foxes and how they were tamed, watch this video.