Harsh grazing conditions have been reported this winter due to some rainy days that have lead to ice cover on the ground.
Observation: A few reindeer where observed searching for food in the summer pasture land in Varanger. Normally they would be more attached to a larger herd in a more concentrated area. Harsh grazing conditions have been reported this winter due to some rainy days that have lead to ice cover on the ground. This has resulted to split them to smaller herds and grazing over a much more widespread area. Some herders also have fed the animals. One feeding ground is shown on the photo. My colleagues have been talking to reindeer herders who can confirm this. It was for instance reported in a local paper, NRK Finnmark this week.
LEO says: Caribou and reindeer are classified as one species, Rangifer tarandus. Currently there are 14 sub species and two which are extinct. Rangifer populations across the North have been experiencing changes in population and range due to a variety of factors. Many of the herds are in decline and icing events has been documented as the cause of some mass die off events.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) added Rangifers to their Red List of threatened species in 2015. "Rangifer tarandus is categorized as Vulnerable A2a ver 3.1 due to an observed 40% decline over three generations (about 21-27 years) across the circum-Arctic countries, when Rangifer declined from about 4,800,000 to 2,890,410 individuals. Uncertainty is high about the extent of the decline and the under-lying mechanisms except at a general level. Extent and causes of the decline vary with region and subspecies. Causes of declines include habitat changes, which do not appear reversible within three generations." To learn more follow the link, The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, for additional content.
Photo by Maija Luken
Small herd in an area they usually use during summer.
Where herders have been feeding reindeer during late winter