To preserve taiga reindeer husbandry. Round table in Ulan-Ude

June 23, 2015 • Alena GerasimovaBlog, ICR/WRH, Nomadic Herders
Ulan-Ude seminar

Participants of the round-table

June 18, Ulan-Ude, Russia. The Buryat State University hosted an international round table devoted to preservation and development of taiga reindeer husbandry. The seminar was organized by the Association of World Reindeer Herders (WRH) together with the Association of Northern Indigenous Peoples of Republic Buryatia and UArcitc EALAT Institute under the International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry (Norway).

The international joint science and education conference “Arctic Dialog in the Global World” wrapped up within the Council Meeting of UArctic. More than 100 Arctic universities, as well as representatives of executive authorities of the Russian Federation, federal government agencies, the Russian Geographical Society, leading scientific institutions in Russia and other countries, participated in this international event, which was also attended by more than 70 delegates from 15 countries. The extensive program of the Council Meeting included scientific meetings, section work and also Buryatia sightseeing tour and trip to the Baikal Lake.

The Taiga Reindeer Husbandry round table was attended by reindeer herders and local indigenous communities from Okinsky, Severo-Baikalsky and Bauntovsky districts of Buryatua Republic; Irkutsk Oblast; Zabaikalsky Krai; Sakha Republic (Yakutia) and young Dukha reindeer herders from Mongolia. The meeting was also attended by the representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture in Buryatia Republic, veterinarians, as well as representatives of mass media and indigenous public organizations.

Mikhail Pogodaev

Mikhail Pogodaev

The main topic of the international round table was the Preservation and Development of Taiga Reindeer Husbandry, which is a unique traditional livelihood of Northern indigenous peoples. The meeting was opened by the president of the Association of Northern Indigenous Peoples of Republic Buryatia Nadezhda Budaeva. At the opening session the chair of the WRH Board and executive director of the Northern Forum Mikhail Pogodaev also told about WRH activities, development of world reindeer husbandry and about main challenges connected with global changes in the Arctic. In his speech Mikhail Pogodaev stressed that WRH priorities are to determine what is causing the taiga reindeer husbandry disappearance; to attract world attention to this problem; and develop measures to conserve this special type of reindeer herding.

In 1990s, in terms of market reforms and destruction of existing system of reindeer herding, taiga reindeer husbandry experienced enormous problems, when in some regions the number of reindeer reduced almost 75 %. Some indigenous peoples like Kets, Nganasans, Soyot, Tofalar, Uilts almost completely lost their reindeer husbandry. But it can also mean the disappearance of these peoples themselves. Therefore, according to Mikhail Pogodaev, government as well as indigenous peoples organizations, public and international representatives have to take urgent actions in order to preserve and further develop taiga reindeer husbandry.

Representatives of reindeer herding communities shared their concerns and difficult situation of taiga reindeer husbandry. Larisa Murzakina from Bauntovsky said that todays situation with remaining reindeer which were transferred from “Yukte” nomadic community to “Dylacha” nomadic community is still unclear. The “Dylacha” community is in the process of liquidation due to lawsuits.

Recently a significant reduction in the number of reindeer is noticed in taiga regions, and state support mechanisms either inadequate or practically absent. Participants also expressed their concern about the need to take measures to preserve unique Tofalar reindeer breed, which is under extinction; development of mutual beneficial relationships between herders and industry. Participants stressed the need in creation of territories of traditional nature use and exchange experience in this field with taiga districts in Sakha Republic (Yakutia) and other regions.

Mongolian student

Dukha reindeer herders from Mongolia

Participants of the round table concluded that the main reason of critical situation in reindeer husbandry of Buryatia Republic is lack of funding and attention from federal, regional and local authorities. There is a need to develop a state program for support of reindeer husbandry throughout taiga reindeer herding. Young Dukha reindeer herders and students of Ulan-Bator universities from Mongolia also made presentations during the round table.

The round table participants adopted recommendations which will be addressed to authorities and public organizations.



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