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Taimyr Wild Reindeer Conservation Plan Prepared
20 december 2018
At the initiative of the WWF-Russia Arctic Program, for the first time in many years, leading experts of the region met in Krasnoyarsk to develop a plan for the conservation and rational use of the Taimyro-Evenki and Leno-Olenek populations of wild reindeer.
These sub-populations are best coneserved against the background of the almost complete extinction of wild reindeer in other regions of the Central Arctic of the Russian Federation. The total number of both populations is about 550 thousand species.
The meeting brought together representatives of regional ministries and departments, scientific, environmental and public organizations. The overall task is to summarize the accumulated experience and discuss a plan for the conservation of wild reindeer.
“Summarizing the two-year work of WWF in Taimyr, we can say that not a little has been done. Thanks to the tagging of several dozen species with satellite collars, we managed to figure out the migration routes of the herds. This year WWF supported rangers in Krasnoyarsk Region and Yakutia with fuel and equipment, which helped to conduct additional anti-poaching raids and avoid the massacre of reindeer, including cutting antlers on river crossings. In addition, nature protected areas received technical assistance, and we managed to conduct education campaigns in the regions,” said Sergey Verkhovets, Project Coordinator for the WWF Arctic program in the Taimyr region.
The main threats to the population of wild reindeer today are:
- climate change, which leads to a shift in the timing and migration routes of the species and changes the food base;
- poaching, which is often carried out in the most barbaric way: poachers take only the most valuable parts of the carcass, and throw out the rest;
- negligent industrial development of the regions (mining, the creation of linear infrastructure).
The meeting also revealed a number of new problems, for example, the death of newborns while crossing water barriers. A few years ago, a young cub along with the mother crossed the river on the ice. Now, because of the earlier spring, the ice breaks out earlier, and reindeers are forced to swim from one bank to another.
Experts believe that to collect data on the population of wild reindeer and effectively combat poaching, it is important to continue tagging animals with satellite collars, strengthen operational work with hunters, and exchange information more actively both between different organizations and between regions - Yakutia and Krasnoyarsk District.
Experts agreed that the wild reindeer conservation plan should be developed taking into account the traditional nature management of the indigenous people of the North, as for many peoples the reindeer is the basis of existence.
“At the meeting, it was possible to discuss the priority steps to be made for the rational use and restoration of the population,” said Irina Onufrenya, Project Coordinator for WWF Russia. - In the coming years, WWF plans to develop and coordinate with federal and regional authorities updated methods of conducting reindeer surveys, support the implementation of a joint large-scale monitoring of the Taimyr population, help improve the regulatory framework, ensure that the interests of indigenous peoples of the North are taken into account in biodiversity conservation plans ".