Scientists sound alarms: wild reindeer in Taimyr is under risk of extinction
For 2 weeks, experts of the Taimyr Nature Reserves, the Central Siberian Reserve and the Institute of Ecology and Evolution Problems of the Russian Academy of Sciences examined the territory more than 80 thousand square kilometers on the Taimyr Peninsula with, passed more than 3000 kilometers by air, and another 1700 kilometers along the Pyasina River and its tributaries.
Preliminary findings sound frightening even for experienced professionals. The Yenisei deer group has disappeared. The most western group - the Tarey group, which numbered 44 thousand individuals in 2017, - has decreased several times and amounts to only several thousand animals.
Scientists also note a very low proportion of year-old calves. This year in the beginning of summer, the lowest level of newborn calves in the last 40 years was recorded on the Kheta River - only 5-7%.
Extremely few deer were observed on the main migratory routes crossing the Pyasina and Tareya rivers, and in the places of summer concentrations the concentrations were not found at all, only few herds and single individuals were noted.
Experts agree that 2 main factors influenced the decrease in the number and violation of the structure of the Taimyr reindeer population. The main reason is the unprecedented illegal hunting. Poachers not only massively kill the largest animals in the herd, but also cut off males` antlers, which leads to a decrease in reproductive function.
In addition, climate change leads to a shift in the timing and routes of migration of the species, rivers open earlier in the spring, and when herd crosses them, many newborn calves die. The food supply is also changing, and places of calving of wild deer are shifting to the south of Taimyr.
According to experts, it is necessary to take radical measures to reform the resource management system of the Taimyr population of wild reindeer, which include the elaboration of legislative frameworks, administrative and legal regulation mechanisms, economic and scientific aspects, and optimization of the network of nature protected areas.