Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Santa Feels Economic Crunch: Elves Get Hungry

Reindeer herds in global decline
Matt Walker
Editor, Earth News

Reindeer and caribou numbers are plummeting around the world.

The first global review of their status has found that populations are declining almost everywhere they live, from Alaska and Canada, to Greenland, Scandinavia and Russia.

The iconic deer is vital to indigenous peoples around the circumpolar north.

"When we discovered that many herds of reindeer also were declining we decided to compile a comprehensive survey to see if this indeed was a global pattern," says Vors.

The scientists were shocked to discover that 34 of the herds were declining, while no data existed for 16 more. Only eight herds were increasing in number. Many herds had been declining for a decade or more.

"We were surprised at the ubiquity of the decline," says Vors.

The scale of the problem is shown by a map upon which the researchers plotted their data, which is published in Global Change Biology.

Reindeer and caribou numbers worldwide: red denotes herds in decline, green indicates those on the increase and dark grey means no data is available. Reindeer and caribou do not range in areas coloured light grey

"Seeing that sea of red was a sobering moment," Vors says.

Read full article from BBC NEWS: HERE



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