Pasture Conflicts

‘Invasion of Swedish Reindeer’

February 19, 2008 • Philip Burgess

Reindeer from Sweden are invading reindeer herding districts in Norway as the ongoing disputes between herders in Norway and Sweden and the unresolved border issues continue, according to an article in Namdalsavisa, and it is a matter for concern for both reindeer herders and scientists. Concerns relate to the impact on the pastures and the difficulties that arise if reindeer mix. The problem is particulary severe in the Vestre Namdal reindeer herding district.

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Reindeer News Roundup from Norway, Sweden

January 28, 2008 • Philip Burgess

Reindeer have been much in the media this last week. Several thousand reindeer from the Swedish side of the border have moved into Trøndelag region in Norway, in search of better pastures, according to this NRK report. This has meant a lot of extra work for reindeer herders on the Norwegian side of the border, who are also dealing with marginal winter pasture conditions. The case drew comment from a Norwegian parliamentary representative who drew attention to the fact that the Convention that governs cross border reindeer  movements has been allowed to lapse for several years.

In other news, East Finnmark (Polmak/Varanger) is the best place to be a reindeer calf in Norway, in terms of pasture and predation with losses, which are estimated to be lowest there compared to the rest of Norway. The worst place is the Troms region with 42% of all calves born being lost to predation, poor pastures etc. By comparison, herders in East Finnmark are estimated to lose 18% of their calves.

Last week, NINA, the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, released a report that concluded that larger reindeer herds gave rise to weaker animals and increased risk of predation. You can download the report on the Reindeer Portal (Norwegian).

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