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Scientists have found traces of reindeer in the Lapland forest reserve

30 september 2022
Experts from the WWF-Russia and the Karelian Research Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences conducted a field trip to a specially protected natural area in order to study the distribution and use of habitats by wild reindeer.

A survey of the coast and the territory adjacent to Lake Lovno, which is part of the Laplandsky Forest reserve, showed that reindeer actively use these habitats in the summer-autumn period. Scientists have noted the ubiquitous presence of reindeer footprints on beaches and trails. Fishing site users and tourists said they regularly see deer in these areas.

Reindeer footprints
(c) Danila Panchenko
“The sanctuary, with the support of the Fund, was established more than ten years ago to protect such a wonderful piece of valuable forestland for wild deer and from excessive human activities. Years later, it is joyful to understand that everything was not in vain. Wild reindeer live here, and we see that they are happy here,” comments Oleg Sutkaitis, Director of the Barents Office of WWF-Russia.

Inspection of the mountain areas adjacent to the coast also confirms the presence of reindeer in this area. In summer, in the mountains, animals find both a sufficient amount of food - all tundra areas are covered with reindeer moss, and salvation from blood-sucking insects. Animals often move along the same routes, their paths are well defined and are found in different mountainous areas adjacent to the coast of Lake Lovno.

Trails on reindeer routes
(c) Danila Panchenko
“It is very important that during the field work we were able to collect reindeer biomaterials. We have to conduct a genetic analysis, this will help determine the degree of purity of animals. We will be able to understand what kind of deer lives in these places - wild or hybrid with a domesticated form that was once kept in the surrounding territories,” said Danila Panchenko, senior researcher at the Zoology Laboratory of the Institute of Biology of the Karelian Scientific Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences

In addition, during the trip, experts noticed traces of a brown bear and even a wolf. Local fishermen said that last year they heard the howl of these predators here. By the way, there were practically no tourists this year. Scientists noted the low impact of the anthropogenic factor in the summer-autumn period.


For additional information please contact
Head of Barents Ecoregional Office
Press officer of Barents ecoregional programme