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Daily Archives: 15. July 2017 − News & Stories


Sval­bard rein­de­er is doing well

The Nor­we­gi­an Polar Insti­tu­te coun­ted 1374 Sval­bard rein­de­er in the Advent­da­len around Lon­gye­ar­by­en this year. Many cal­ves were obser­ved and only a few dead rein­de­er found. This is a trend that has been obser­ved for years: The rein­de­er popu­la­ti­on has been gro­wing slight­ly in this regi­on for years.

Well-fed Sval­bard rein­de­er, an ende­mic sub­s­pe­ci­es of the rein­de­er

Svalbard reindeer

The rein­de­er have been coun­ted sin­ce 1979 on Spits­ber­gen by the Nor­we­gi­an Polar Insti­tu­te and the Sys­sel­man­nen – the Gover­nor of Spits­ber­gen. At that time only 457 rein­de­er were coun­ted in Advent­da­len. It is esti­ma­ted that a total of 10.000 to 11.000 rein­de­er live on Spits­ber­gen.

Cli­ma­te chan­ge has variuos effects

Up to now, it has been assu­med that rein­de­er suf­fer from the incre­a­sing rain. In win­ter, the rain forms a lay­er of ice on the ground and the rein­de­er have more dif­fi­cul­ties approa­ching the lichens and gras­ses. Hig­her tem­pe­ra­tures in the autumn seem to com­pen­sa­te for the dete­rio­ra­ti­on in the living con­di­ti­ons for rein­de­er. Last year, high tem­pe­ra­tures in Octo­ber and Novem­ber made it pos­si­ble for the rein­de­er to build fat reser­ves so they could sur­vi­ve the cold win­ter.

The situa­ti­on is a bit dif­fe­rent for rein­de­er north of Spits­ber­gen: on the Brøg­ger­hal­vøya peninsula/ Kongsfjor­den, the stock remains sta­ble. Here, the fjords have remai­ned free of ice in recent years, so that the Rein­de­er can hard­ly migra­te to avoid bad fee­ding con­di­ti­ons.
Glo­bal war­ming could the­re­fo­re have dif­fe­rent effects in the dif­fe­rent cli­ma­te zones on Spits­ber­gen.

Less dead rein­de­er in the Advent­da­len could mean bad news for ano­t­her spe­ci­es: The polar fox feeds from rein­de­er car­cas­ses. Less dead rein­de­er means, he must switch to other food sources.

Some­ti­mes curious: Sval­bard rein­de­er

Svalbard reindeer

More arti­cles about the Sval­bard rein­de­er

Source: Nord­lys, Sval­bard­pos­ten

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