What is Reindeer Husbandry?

What kind of challenges does reindeer herding face?

Reindeer need exensive, undisturbed areas the whole year round where they can find quiet. Both reindeer herders and many researchers have stated that intrusions – or loss of pastures – are the primary challenge that reindeer and reindeer herding faces in the future. National parks, military activities, mining activities, cottage areas, pipelines and wind power expansion are examples of common intrutions. And all the time, new types of activities occur and the number increases. Intrusions often lead to a massive loss of pastures for all time. This together with high levels of predators and climate changes constitute major negative threats to reindeer herding.


Why do most reindeer herders say that they could not think of other way of living?

Such a statement is associated with strong emotions. In particular, people who have grown up with reindeer herding and who choose to continue with reindeer herding themselves often believe that they can not imagine living a different life than with reindeer herding. The lifestyle has often been passed down from generation to generation and the knowledge on how to work with the reindeer has often been taught to him or her by an older family member or relative. A life as a reindeer herder is a special life, and few have the opportunity to engage in this livelihood. Reindeer herding is associated with an enormous amount of traditional knowledge about nature, animals and how to survive in nature. The contact between reindeer and a reindeer herder can be both intense and emotive. Since nature sets many of the conditions, nothing can ever be taken for granted. Additionally, a reindeer herder does not know if she or he can expect financial gain from his/her reindeer herding activities from one year to another because she or he cannot govern the terms and conditions that may devour any of the profits. Therefore reindeer herders often say that “you should not start out with reindeer herding if economic freedom is important for you”.


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