March 30, 2023

Taylor Daily Press

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"Climate change is driving Lapland's reindeer south to find food" |  environment

“Climate change is driving Lapland’s reindeer south to find food” | environment

Reindeer in Lapland move more and more south to find food. According to local scientists, the cause of climate change must be sought.

“Reindeer can’t break through hard ice, so they migrate to places where there is nothing but snow. They can easily remove it to eat the lichen underneath,” Joko Kumbula, a scientist at the Finnish Institute of Natural Resources, told the BBC.

Because of global warming, it is common for a layer of ice to form on the snow after it rains or when the snow melts. “It’s hard to break through that layer, so reindeer have to travel up to 100 kilometers to find food,” say the reindeer herders.

twice faster

According to scientists, the Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world. Many indigenous peoples of Lapland, such as the Sami, live on reindeer. However, the mass exodus made it more difficult to find their herds.

“We drive for hours to find and fend off our reindeer. This is very difficult in winter conditions. We also use helicopters, but this is very unusual and expensive,” said Swedish shepherd Thomas Seva, who said about 8,000 cattle have moved away from areas of the country. The usual grazing in the last days.

In the past, such winters only happened every thirty years. “But now it seems that they are coming back more often because of climate change,” said a member of the Reindeer Herders Association.