Arctic reindeer decline

This video is called Caribou migration to the Arctic – BBC.

From the BBC:

Reindeer herds in global decline

Matt Walker
Editor, Earth News

Reindeer and caribou numbers are plummeting around the world.

The first global review of their status has found that populations are declining almost everywhere they live, from Alaska and Canada, to Greenland, Scandinavia and Russia.

The iconic deer is vital to indigenous peoples around the circumpolar north.

Yet it is increasingly difficult for the deer to survive in a world warmed by climate change and altered by industrial development, say scientists.

Reindeer and caribou belong to the same species, Rangifer tarandus.

Caribou live in Canada, Alaska and Greenland; while reindeer live in Russia, Norway, Sweden and Finland.

Worldwide, seven sub-species are recognised. Each are genetically, morphologically and behaviourally a little different, though capable of interbreeding with one another. …

“From a Canadian perspective, the caribou is part of our national identity,” says Vors. “Canada’s caribou migrations have frequently been identified as one of this country’s natural wonders, and the species even appears on our 25-cent coin.”

Canadian coins, including caribou coin

British Columbia, Canada: DNA recovered from ancient caribou bones reveals a possible link between several small unique caribou herds and a massive volcanic eruption that blanketed much of the Alaskan Yukon territory in a thick layer of ash 1,000 years ago, reports research published today in Molecular Ecology: here.

A recent study on woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou) suggests that individual variations can literally be a matter of life and death–in this case not for the animals themselves, but for their offspring: here.

ScienceDaily (Apr. 1, 2010) — The hunter-gatherers who inhabited the southern coast of Scandinavia 4,000 years ago were lactose intolerant, according to a new study carried out by researchers at Uppsala University and Stockholm University: here.

7 thoughts on “Arctic reindeer decline

  1. This holiday season caribou — also called reindeer — are struggling as never before. They are starving as they desperately try to dig up the food that is just out of reach. And because of changing temperatures, they are being swept to their deaths in rushing rivers.

    In fact, populations of caribou have plummeted almost 60% in just three decades. And now, a new report states that global warming is to blame.

    Please, donate to National Wildlife Federation today!

    Without your help, the outlook for the caribou is bleak. Here are just some of the life-threatening problems they face:

    They are unable to access food. As global warming causes warmer temperatures in the Arctic, more rain is falling when it should be snow. When rain falls on snow that is on the ground, it creates a thick layer of ice. This prevents caribou from “digging” through to reach food on the ground. The extra ice makes feeding increasingly more difficult, if not impossible, leaving the reindeer exhausted and starving.

    They are drowning in unfrozen rivers. Reindeer follow the same carefully chosen migration path every year. But as global warming melts ice on the rivers earlier and earlier, they are forced to try to swim across rivers that are usually frozen over. Tragically, many calves are too weak to keep up with the rushing waters and are swept to their death.

    Please help change the forecast for caribou and all of our nation’s wildlife struggling for survival. Donate today. We promise to put your support to work right away in our wildlife-protecting programs.


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