Too many animals on the tundra. Photo: Thomas Nilsen

«Number of reindeer must down by 250,000»

Pasture lands are insufficient and the risks for outbreak of disease high, authorities in the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrug say.
September 09, 2016


A «road map» on the reduction of the number of reindeer is to be adopted, the regional government informed in a meeting this week. 

The decision comes after more than 1,200 reindeer died and several people were hospitalized in a serious outbreak of anthrax this summer. The infection was spread by migrating reindeer.

«In my opinion, we should already by late September have ready a battle plan; who, where and how many reindeers are to be slaughtered, and by which brigade», regional Governor Dmitry Kobylin said.

Over a number of years, there has been a major increase in the number of Yamal-Nenets reindeers. There are now more than 700,000 animals in the region, an increase of about 200,000 in 15 years. 

According to regional authorities, at least 250,000 animals should be slaughtered this fall.

That, however, will be easier said than done. About 70 percent of the animals are privately-owned by local herders. And they will not be happy about a dramatic reduction of their stocks.

«The problem is that the private owners do not only refuse to vaccinate, but also slaughter the animals», the Yamal Rayon administration informs. «Therefore, we need to conduct preventive work with the indigenous people», a press release reads.


The indigenous peoples of the Russian north do not only eat the meat of the reindeer, but have other parts of the animal as well as an important part of their traditional food. Photo: Thomas Nilsen



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