Russian Reindeer Herders Having Huge Problems with Climate Change

By February 27, 2010 February 24th, 2013 Agriculture, Impacts

Warm winters in recent years have caused reindeer herders to repeatedly delay the rounding up of their  herds. They have moved the slaughter from the traditional time of December to February because the lakes are not freezing over until then. The reindeer lose 20 percent of their weight during the wait. The AFP report quotes Vladimir Filippov, an ethnic Komi herder "It’s not a small but a huge problem for us and a constant worry". Filipov said the loss can be 167,000 dollars per year. More than a decade of mild winters have affected the herders. They dismiss the skeptics pessimism about global warming. Other issues are hampering the herds. Climate changes have disrupted the breeding cycle. Freezing rain early in the snow season, when traditionally there was only snow, forms as rock hard layer over the lichens that the reindeer feed on.  Reindeer (caribou) are in significant decline because of climate change (see here). "The vast degree of global change in the north casts doubt on the species’ ability to recover," study author Liv Vors of the University of Alberta, Canada told AFP.

AFP report