Wild reindeer and caribou, Rangifer tarandus, are widely distributed around the circumpolar Arctic where they play a key role in the environment, culture, and economy of the region. One of the two major wild reindeer populations in west Greenland has declined from about 45,000 to 35,000 between 2001 and 2005, while the trend for the second major herd is uncertain. From a management and biological perspective, however, it may be desirable to reduce the size of this population due to a potential risk for overgrazing at the present population level. Neighboring Iceland’s introduced wild reindeer have been increasing since 2000 with currently over 6,500 animals. Further east in Norway, mountain reindeer totaled about 25,000 animals in 2003 and the trend for the two largest herds is stable since then. In Finland, the numbers and ranges of wild boreal forest reindeer have been decreasing since 2000 after initial increases in previous decades. In Northern Russia, four of five major wild reindeer herds are declining while one herd, Lena-Olenyk increased as of a 2009 population estimate.
From collection: Arctic Biodiversity Trends 2010
Hugo Ahlenius, GRID-Arendal & CAFF