Climate change forces Taimyr reindeer to shift migration timings
A video filmed by a resident of the village of Khatanga (Taimyr Dolgano-Nenets District of Krasnoyarsk Territory) appeared online last week. It shows a herd of migrating reindeer running right through the streets of the village.
According to locals, many females were with cubs, which had not yet gained strength. Some reindeer died trying to swim across the Khatanga River, which is more than a kilometer wide. About two hundred young animals could not overcome the water barrier or, exhausted, remained on the shore near the village, the deer scattered around the neighborhood or became the object of hunting for stray dogs.
Experts do not see anything surprising in the fact that the animals came to the settlement - the migration routes of the wild reindeer pass through this territory. But such an early date is recorded for the first time – usually animals return to the north two weeks or even a month later.
The current incident is not the first time when Taimyr reindeer experience the effects of climate change. For example, last year the staff Taimyr Nature Reserves during one of the expeditions had to help young reindeer to cross the rivers, which opened too early, and the banks were washed out.
Over the past 10 years, the Taimyr population of wild reindeer has almost halved. Today, there are about 450 thousand individuals, and experts note its annual decline - there is a risk to completely lose this unique biological resource for the population of Taimyr, the north of Evenkia and the western regions of Yakutia in a few years.
WWF has been helping protect these Arctic species for several years – helps to conduct surveys and expeditions to study wild reindeer, provides support to state inspectors in anti-poaching work, actively interacts with the indigenous population of the region.