BBC: Thousands of reindeer lost in Lapland

BBC: Thousands of reindeer lost in Lapland

The BBC says thousands of reindeer have disappeared from Finnish Lapland.

The animals have wandered up to 100 miles to graze their food – lichen – covered under a layer of ice. The lichen is trapped under a layer of ice as the early snowfall melts and freezes as the temperature drops.

Weather patterns and changes in vegetation are increasingly affecting reindeer herds. However, shepherds are increasingly concerned about the impact of climate change on their traditional livelihoods. In addition to the fact that snow seasons affect the ability of predators to dig through the snow to gain access to lichens, recent years have also seen unpredictable mushroom seasons that have also affected herd survival.

Jouko KumpulaA senior researcher at the Natural Resources Center told the BBC that reindeer in parts of Finnish Lapland are now looking for areas "with only snow that they can easily remove and eat the lichen below."

Helicopter tracking

Tuomas SevaThe shepherd serving the border on the Swedish side told the British Broadcasting Corporation that locating the animals was expensive and time-consuming because the shepherds had resorted to using helicopters.

He said about 8,000 beasts had wandered off in the last few days.

Reindeer smell the direction of the warm air as they wander in search of unfrozen lichen.

"I know our farthest reindeer have traveled about 100 miles from our area," Vili Kurki, The shepherd of Muonio, explained.

According to the BBC, climate change is making it more difficult for reindeer to graze on winter pastures in Lapland. Finnish shepherds said two years ago that severe winter weather killed 15,000 reindeer, causing damage of 23 million euros.

"Usually, such winters have been experienced in the past once in 30 years, but it seems that they are becoming more common due to ongoing climate change." Kumpula added.

Some shepherds have begun to give their animals extra food to encourage their reindeer to stay closer to home.

The commercial was first reported by the commercial broadcaster MTV.

Source: The Nordic Page




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