There are just over 1000 Tofalar, who live primarily in the mountain taiga zone of the Irkutskaya Oblast, in the river valleys of the Uda,Biryusa, Kan,Gutara and Iya among others.
Traditionally they were a nomadic hunting people that used reindeer for their migrations and practiced small scale reindeer herding. Organised in clans. they kept 20-30 reindeer in one household. Tofalar use reindeer for clothing, use reindeer milk for drinking and make cheese and curdled milk.
This region represents the southern boundary of reindeer husbandry along with the other peoples of Inner Asia, such as Soyot, Tsataan and the Tozhu Tuvans.
Tofalar practice taiga reindeer husbandry, using animals for transport and hunting. Currently there are less than 50 reindeer in Tofalar reindeer husbandry, down from several thousand in the 1990’s.
There are perhaps only 30 Tofalars remaining that practice reindeer husbandry.