Forget polar bears for a moment, how are reindeer coping with climate change?

A reindeer near the settlement of Ny-Alesund in Norway's Svalbard archipelago. Is increased winter rain making it harder for the animals to access their food sources? AFP PHOTO / MARTIN BUREAUPolar bears have become a global symbol of climate change in the Arctic.

Countless news reports and academic studies have examined how the retreating sea ice will affect polar bear habitat and hunting.

But what about other Arctic wildlife? How is climate change affecting them?

A recent study out of Norway and published in Biology Letters puts the focus on reindeer for a change.

Reindeer are still central to the life and culture of the indigenous Sami people in northern Scandinavia, Finland and northwestern Russia.

The study was conducted in Svalbard, a group of Norwegian islands in the Arctic Ocean.

The findings suggest that increased winter rain is having a negative effect on the animals, particularly in relation to population size.

You can read more on just how here and here.

Write to Eilís Quinn at eilis.quinn(at)



Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn is an award-winning journalist and manages Radio Canada International’s Eye on the Arctic news cooperation project. Eilís has reported from the Arctic regions of all eight circumpolar countries and has produced numerous documentary and multimedia series about climate change and the issues facing Indigenous peoples in the North.

Her investigative report "Death in the Arctic: A community grieves, a father fights for change," about the murder of Robert Adams, a 19-year-old Inuk man from Arctic Quebec, received the silver medal for “Best Investigative Article or Series” at the 2019 Canadian Online Publishing Awards. The project also received an honourable mention for excellence in reporting on trauma at the 2019 Dart Awards in New York City.

Her report “The Arctic Railway: Building a future or destroying a culture?” on the impact a multi-billion euro infrastructure project would have on Indigenous communities in Arctic Europe was a finalist at the 2019 Canadian Association of Journalists award in the online investigative category.

Her multimedia project on the health challenges in the Canadian Arctic, "Bridging the Divide," was a finalist at the 2012 Webby Awards.

Her work on climate change in the Arctic has also been featured on the TV science program Découverte, as well as Le Téléjournal, the French-Language CBC’s flagship news cast.

Eilís has worked for media organizations in Canada and the United States and as a TV host for the Discovery/BBC Worldwide series "Best in China."

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

Leave a Reply

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.
Netiquette »

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *