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Mass Reindeer Deaths Linked to Extreme Climate Events on Yamal

November 16, 2016 • Philip BurgessBlog, Challenges, Reindeer, Reindeer HerdersLeave a comment
Dead Reindeer, death due to extreme climate event. Photo: Roma Serotetto

Dead Reindeer, death due to extreme climate event. Photo: Roma Serotetto

From the press release announcing a new paper entitled ‘Sea ice, rain-on-snow and tundra reindeer nomadism in Arctic Russia’ published today in the journal, Biology Letters. You can read the article in full here.

Scientists have interviewed nomadic reindeer herders in the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrug of West Siberia, the world’s most productive reindeer herding region, to look at how global warming is affecting their way of life. While rain-on-snow generally does not cause problems in spring, it can be catastrophic for reindeer in the autumn when rain turns to an ice crust as normal freezing temperatures return. This crust, often several centimetres thick,
prevents the reindeer from feeding on fodder beneath the snow throughout the winter
months. Two extreme weather events in 2006 and 2013 caused mass starvation among the
reindeer herds, and researchers for the first time have linked these extreme weather events
on the coastal mainland in northwest Russia with sea ice loss in the adjoining Barents and
Kara seas.

The most recent rain-on-snow event of November 2013 resulted in 61 000 reindeer deaths,
about 22% out of 275 000 reindeer on the Yamal Peninsula, says the paper, which warns
that these events seem to be increasing in severity.

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Anthrax in Reindeer on Yamal Seminar Held, Salekhard

November 12, 2016 • Philip BurgessBlog, Challenges, ICR/WRH, Reindeer, Reindeer HerdersLeave a comment

Anthrax seminar The ICR and WRH team have been in Salekhard, the capital of the Yamal Nenets Autonomous Okrug for the whole week and yesterday, attended an international seminar on the outbreak of anthrax on the Yamal Peninsula this summer. The anthrax outbreak was an event that captured global headlines and aroused significant concern amongst herders and their advocates, as significant reindeer culls have been suggested, and a desire to reduce the number of active herders has also touted. Considerable unease and uncertainty within the livelihood has arisen as a result.

The seminar was a two day event and was opened by the Yamal Governor Dmitry Kobylkin and included presentations by multiple presenters from Russia, Norway, Finland, Sweden, UK, Germany, Canada and the US on various topics including anthrax outbreaks, pastures, reindeer health, education,

From the ICR/WRH team, presentations were made by Svein Mathiesen (“Social- ecological resilience of reindeer husbandry in times of Arctic change”), Johan Mathis Turi (“The role of traditional knowledge and management in the future”) and ICR board member Roza Laptander from the Arctic Centre, Finland, (“Turbulent periods in the history of Yamal reindeer husbandry in stories of tundra dwellers”)

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EALLU Seminar Wraps Up in Salekhard, Yamal Nenets AO

November 8, 2016 • Philip BurgessBlog, EALLU, ICR/WRH, ProjectsLeave a comment

EALLU YouthToday the EALLU seminar entitled ‘Traditional Knowledge and Food Culture of Indigenous Peoples of Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrug: Towards a Safe and Sustainable Future’. The event was attended by students and youth, along with researchers, the ICR and WRH team and indigenous and political leaders from the Yamal Nenets Automous Okrug.

Content from the workshop will also feed into the EALLU Reindeer Herders Arctic Cookbook which will be delivered to the Arctic Council next year.

See meeting gallery below. Meeting programme is here.

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EALLU Workshop in Salekhard Gets Underway

Philip BurgessBlog, EALLU, ICR/WRH, ProjectsLeave a comment

2_flat_logo_215x75On Tuesday, November 8, as part of a week long series of reindeer related activities in Salekhard, in the Yamal Nenets Autonomous Okrug, there will be an EALLU seminar held at the Yamal Polar Agroeconomic College, entitled ‘Traditional Knowledge and Food Culture of Indigenous Peoples of Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrug: Towards a Safe and Sustainable Future. There will be presentations by Nenets and Sami researchers, experts, practitioners and a number of presentations by students of the college on food safety (Traditional Nenets foods feature a lot of raw meat and blood) and that traditional foods are an ‘anti stress diet’, speaking to the fact that traditional foods are not just about protein, but encompass a range of cultural, economic, social, spiritual and physical properties and functions. Presenters include ICR Director Anders Oskal, WRH Executive Chair Mikhail Pogodaev, Inger Anita Smuk.

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Mongolian Parliament Members Visit Reindeer Centre

November 7, 2016 • Philip BurgessBlog, ICR/WRH, Nomadic Herders, ProjectsLeave a comment

Mongolian delegationOn Friday and Saturday, November 5-6 in Kautokeino, a Memorandum of Understanding between the International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry and the Khuvsgul Khugjil Foundation, Mongolia was signed when members of the Mongolian Parliament visited ICR. The discussions centred around with the promotion of  nomadism and local economies, students scholarships, film production, small business innovation, internet access, village friendship development and the language issue of the indigenous Dukha peoples in Mongolia. This cooperation is an outgrowth of the Nomadic Herders project. Some photos below. The visiting delegation included Battsteseg Batsuuri  for the Mongolian Embassy in Stockholm, Batchuluun Otgonsur,  an advisor from Ulan Bataar and Munkhbaatar Lkhagva, member of the  Mongolian Parliament. Some more pictures here on our Facebook page.

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New Cookbook about Evenki Food Culture is About to be Released

October 20, 2016 • Alena GerasimovaProjectsComments (1)
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Nadezhda Gerasimova – the author of the cookbook

Iengra is an Evenki village at the south of Sakha Republic Yakutia. The name of the village in Evenki language means “branchy antlers”(the same name of the river that the village is situated by and the shape of the Iengra river reminds reindeer antlers). Iengra is mostly inhabited by Evenki people, the representatives from the ancient Evenki clans – Nyurmagan, Buta, Bellet, Longorki, Keptuke and others. Traditional livelihood of Evenki people in Iengra is reindeer herding, hunting and fishing.

Nadezhda Gerasimova is Evenki from reindeer herding family in Iengra, she is an author of the culinary book about traditional food culture of Evenki people. According to the author, the main purpose of the book is to preserve Evenki traditional knowledge on food, history and culture of Evenki people from Southern Yakutia.  

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Lynx Kill Far More Reindeer Than Science Previously Stated

October 19, 2016 • Philip BurgessBlog, Challenges, Reindeer, Reindeer HerdersLeave a comment

Lynx predatorFascinating research on predators emerging from NINA in Norway regarding the rate and number of reindeer (and sheep) killed by Lynx is far higher than authorities have previously stated. Indeed, the numbers are far closer to that which herders have always claimed, especially in Troms and Finnmark, that predation by Lynx is a major threat to herders’ economy and livelihood.

In February of this year, 10 Lynx were captured and fitted with GPS collars which were monitored by researchers. Once animals were stationary for some time, researchers would then look for dead animals in those areas. Researchers found that a make lynx can kill a reindeer or sheep each day. One lynx in particular killed 100 reindeer.

While compensation for losses to predators are compensated, up until now Finnmark and Troms County reject 90% of all claims. Hans Ole Eira, Head of the Lakkonjárga district is quoted as saying that he is glad that research is finally proving that herders should be believed.

Read the full story here (in Norwegian)

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Moscow is hosting an international Arctic cooperation conference

October 12, 2016 • Alena GerasimovaICR/WRHLeave a comment

arct2016benOctober 12, Moscow. The international conference International Cooperation in the Arctic: New Challenges and Vectors of Development, organized by the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC) with the support of the Russian Foreign Ministry has started. The conference will take place from 12 till 13 October 2016.

“In order to discuss a number of major issues of cooperation in the region the Russian Council on International Affairs with the support of the Government Office of Russia and the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is holding a conference entitled ” International cooperation in the Arctic: New Challenges and vectors of development ” on October 12-13, – the organizers reported.

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Yamal government decided on decreasing the number of reindeer

Alena GerasimovaBlogLeave a comment
ITAR-TASS 74: KAMCHATKA, RUSSIA. NOVEMBER 27. Reindeer heads with the velvet covering ripped off the antlers, Esso Village, Kamchatka, Russia. (Photo ITAR-TASS / Igor Buimistrov) 74. Россия. Камчатка. 27 ноября. Заготовка оленьего мяса в селе Эссо. Фото ИТАР-ТАСС/ Игорь Буймистров

(Photo ITAR-TASS / Igor Buimistrov)

Yamal government has decided to reduce the number of reindeer and decrease the reindeer livestock by approximately 100,000. Reindeer herders and owners of the reindeer were not asked the permission to slaughter their reindeer, and now herers themselves think that the government is in sympathy with  gas-producing companies. 

With the petition on the website Change.org, addressed to the president of Russia, Yamal reindeer herders protest against the mass slaughter of reindeer on the recent decision of the authorities: “We believe that this step is caused by the interests of the gas industry – reindeer and herders are getting in the way of the gas workers. We want to preserve our culture and our traditional way of life. If you force us to reduce the number of animals, it will dramatically and irrevocably worsen the socio-economic situation in the region. Actually authorities understand that, they are now deciding on what to do with those of us who will be left without work and without reindeer. ”

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EALLU Presented to Arctic Council SDWG, Maine

October 3, 2016 • Philip BurgessBlog, EALLU, ProjectsLeave a comment

Anders Oskal SDWGICR Director Anders Oskal presented the progress on the EALLU project to the Arctic Council Sustainable Development Working Group over the weekend in Orono, Maine. The Arctic Council is currently under the U.S. Chairmanship.

The progress on the project is considerable. EALLU is managed by ICR and WRH, with co-leads Canada, Denmark/Greenland, Norway, Russia, USA, the Aleut International Association and the Saami Council. EALLU runs up to 2019, but already 26 different activities such as community workshops, seminars and events have been held, in a huge variety of locations, including Inuvik, Nome, Kautokeino, Inari, Copenhagen, St Petersburg, Moscow, Uryung-Khaya, Chersky, Topolinoe, Yakutsk, Genhe (China) and Tereli in Mongolia, to name but a few.

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