March 24, 2009 • Philip Burgess
(Pic: Dan Robert Larsen / NRK) Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, The Chair of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues visited a reindeer herd in the company of a reindeer herder from Karasjok, Johan Mathis Eira, among others. She compared the journey to the herd as like travelling in a fridge! Tauli-Corpus has been in Karasjok this week visiting the Sami Parliament, taking part in a seminar that included topics such as rights and climate change and was organised by the Sami parliament and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
When informed that she was travelling in an area that was populated by the ferocious predator, wolverine, she expressed concern but was glad to hear that they are afraid of people. The weather was overcast and windy. Said Eira,
It is in such weather that wolverine like the best.Then it can sneak in on the reindeer herd and their tracks are hidden (by the wind). Then it is only the crows the day after that tell you what has happened and that Jerven have some catch…
In our siida predators are a problem. Especially wolverine and lynx that both frighten and kill reindeer. We do not need to be long gone from the herd before these predators turn up
You can watch a video clip of her trip here on NRK Sami Radio
Source: NRK Sami Radio
November 28, 2008 • Philip Burgess
Handölsdalens sameby har ansökt om skyddsjakt på fem järvar och fem lodjur. Ansökan ligger nu hos Naturvårdsverket. Beslut väntas komma inom kort.
”Över 50 000 renar blir rovdjursföda”
Lennart Blindh som är ordförande i Handölsdalens sameby tror att varje sameby förlorar omkring 1000 renar varje år på grund av rovdjur. I Sverige finns det drygt 50 samebyar.
Samtliga skogssamebyar kräver att de extra rovdjurspengarna som sametinget får för nästa år ska användas för att höja rovdjursersättningarna för örn och björn.
The Handölsdalens sameby in Sweden is applying for more permits to hunt Lynx and wolverine. Lennart Blind, the leader of sameby estimates that they lose over 100 reindeer a year to predators. Source – SR.se
In other predation news from Sweden, SR.se is reporting that Swedish forest sameby are applying for more compensation from the Sami parliament for reindeer losses to Bear and Eagle.
November 17, 2008 • Philip Burgess
(Pic and story Ságat) By using GPS transmitters on reindeer in the Skæhkere reindeer husbandry district in southern Norway, reindeer herders hope that in time it will be easier to document their large losses caused by predators. Herders in this district in Trøndelag spend a great deal of time looking for carcasses for documentation purposes.
July 17, 2008 • Philip Burgess
(Pic – Torill Kolbu) There was an interesting interview with south Sami reindeer herder Jon Anders Mortensson in Ostlendingen today. Mortensson herding area is the Elgå reindeer district in the mountainous region of southern Norway. In this region there are six herding families, in all about 35 people, herding around 3000 reindeer.
Mortensson stressed the importance of the intergenerational transfer of knowledge and that older herders don’t retire, rather play a critical role in educating the future generations.
We cannot survive with these big losses to predators, year after year. It makes me question more whether it is appropriate that my children become full time reindeer herders. Do they have a profession in the future, or will they get an education in another occupation? These questions and thoughts arise ever more frequently in my head
June 3, 2008 • Philip Burgess
Predation is a serious problem for reindeer herders in the spring and early summer after calving season, as young calves are particularly vulnerable to predation. Kristian Jåma, a Sami reindeer herder from Sør-Fosen in Sør-Trøndelag region said to NRK Sami Radio that he feels that his claims about predation loss are not believed. In a small area, he has lost 24 reindeer, many of which are claves to predation, particularly eagle.
I feel that Statens naturoppsyn (SNO) do not believe me because they have not come to document the carcasses before they are eaten up.
Without documentation by SNO, reindeer herders do not receive compensation. Another risk to reindeer at this time of the year, when so many reindeer are moving or have arrived in their summer pastures is traffic, with a high number of reindeer fatalities being reported along the E6, Norway’s main North South artery.
Finally, a board member of the Finnmark branch of Norway’s right wing Progress Party (FrP), currently Norway’s second largest political party has claimed in a local paper that reindeer husbandry is acting as a hindrance to industrial development in Finnmark, and went on to opine that as reindeer herders use such large areas and block development they should pay a tax on land use.
May 9, 2008 • Philip Burgess
Maa- ja metsätalousministeriö on päättänyt maksaa 1 732 261 euroa korvauksia loppuvuonna (1.7-31.12.2007) aiheutuneista porovahingoista sekä alkuvuonna (1.1. – 30.6.2007) aiheutuneista porovahingoista siltä osin kuin niitä ei vielä oltu korvattu täysimääräisesti.
(Summary in English: The Finnish Ministry of Forestry and Agriculture has decided to pay subsidies of 1 732 261 € to cover the damages – that haven’t been reimbused in full – caused by predators to reindeer husbandry during 1.1.2007 – 31.12.2007. The Ministry of Forestry and Agriculture couldn’t pay subsidies in whole last year since the claims for damages exceeded the budget allocated for 2007. The damages made up 2,55 million euro last year, and thus reached the highest level for 20 years.)
April 28, 2008 • Philip Burgess
(Wolverine – Gulo Gulo) The number of reindeer killed by predators rose sharply last year. The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry reimbursed reindeer herders more than two and a half million euros for lost livestock, the highest figure in 20 years.
The figure was one-fifth higher than the year before. Herders sought recompense for more than 4,000 lost reindeer. The ministry says the increase is partly due to growing predator populations.
However the amount of kills by wolverines also climbed steeply even though the number of these medium-sized predators has actually declined. There are only about 120 wolverines in the country, mostly in the north and east. The ministry is looking into why the number of wolverine kills has jumped. (Story/ Pic Source YLE News 21.04.2008)
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).