Nganasan, of whom there are approximately 900, mainly live in the tundra of the Taymyrskiy Autonomous Okrug along the Kheta and Khatanga rivers and northwards. Nganasans adopted a semi nomadic lifestyle after collectivisation in 1940.

Subsistence activities such as hunting and fishing have long been important activities with reindeer husbandry adopted in the late 19th century. After collectivisation, reindeer husbandry became their main occupation. The winter pastures were in the northern parts of the Khatanga and Kheta River basins and the Pyasina River, while the summer pastures were situated in the north, on the Byrranga Plateau and north of Lake Taymyr, occasionally as far north as 77o N.

A rapid increase in the herd size of wild reindeer has been a challenge to the regions reindeer herders.