Reindeer herds grow on Russian tundra

Reindeer populations grow significantly in Russia, while they shrink in Norway. Photo: Thomas Nilsen
Reindeer populations grow significantly in Russia, while they shrink in Norway. (Thomas Nilsen)
The number of reindeer on Nenets tundra is up by more than 270,000 in 15 years

The territories are huge. But so are the number of reindeer. According to the authorities in the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrug, there are now more than 700,000 reindeer on the regional tundra. 

That is an increase of about 200,000 animals in 15 years. According to figures from the Russian Statistical Service, there were 504,000 reindeer in the region in 2000.

In addition, there has also been an increase in the neighbouring Nenets Autonomous Okrug, where the total number of animals now is estimated to  192,000, regional authorities say. In 2000, the number of reindeer in the Nenets AO totaled about 122,000. 

In the Yamal-Nenets region, as many as 110,000 calves were born this year. At the same time, about 70,000 animals are up for slaughter. That will give regional reindeer herders and their local industries about 2,500 tons of environmentally friendly and clean meat, the regional government informs.

The Yamal-Nenets AO is believed to house 50 percent of the Russian reindeer population and about 35 of the world’s total.

In Norway, the number of reindeer move in the opposite direction. According to the country’s Agricultural Agency, there is now a total reindeer population of 211,600. Of them, 145,795 live in the northernmost county of Finnmark. 

That is the lowest number in more than ten years.

Slaughter time on the Nenets tundra. (Thomas Nilsen)
Slaughter time on the Nenets tundra. (Thomas Nilsen)
Related stories from around the North:

Canada:  Caribou numbers plummet in eastern Canada, Radio Canada International

Finland:  Better times for reindeer herding, YLE News

Norway:  Norway’s radioactive reindeer, Barents Observer

Russia: A reindeer tragedy in Russian Arctic, Barents Observer

Sweden: Bear hunt quota worries reindeer herders in Sweden’s Arctic, Radio Sweden

United States: Wildfires could threaten Arctic caribou herd’s winter habitat: study, Alaska Dispatch

Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer

For more news from the Barents region visit The Independent Barents Observer.

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