Climate Change A Threat To Reindeer Populations: Canadian Study
[caption id="attachment_76089" align="aligncenter" width="640"] The reindeer (Rangifer tarandus), also known as the caribou in North America, is a species of deer native to Arctic and Subarctic regions. Dean Biggins (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)[/caption]
A new Canadian study on the effects of climate change on Caribou, colloquially known as Reindeer, is showing that climate change is having negative effects on the reindeer population and that these effects may be getting worse. A number of climate change-related factors are hurting reindeer populations. Most importantly, their habitat is being drastically diminished and changed. These animals live in very cold areas that are warming up. This means less snow and ice and consequently less habitat for reindeers to travel.
“The woodland caribou is already an endangered species in southern Canada and the United States,” said Marco Musiani, a University of Calgary professor who co-authored the study, which involved 21 researchers from two continents. “The warming of the planet means the disappearance of critical habitat in these regions.
“Caribou need undisturbed lichen-rich environments, and these types of habitats are disappearing.”
North American populations will be much more affected than their counterparts in Europe. This is due to the way climate change has affected this area of the planet. Sixty percent of the range of the caribou worldwide is being threatened, while upwards of 80 percent is being threatened here in North America.
The study examined populations in Russia, North America and Greenland and found that the North American populations are the most threatened by far. There are currently more than 2 million reindeer in North America with the vast majority of those in the Northern part of Canada. Some also live in Alaska. These changes will have a profound effect not only on the animal but also on the people who depend on caribou for their livelihood.
On The Web:
Climate Change was Threat for Habitat of Reindeer