Reindeer husbandry in Greenland has a short history. In 1952, 300 reindeer were brought to West Greenland (near Nuuk) from Karasjok, Norway with some Sami herders who were brought to train local Inuit. Reindeer husbandry was modeled on Sami methods and two herds were established East of Nuuk, with combined pastures of 2260 km2.
By the late 1960’s, the herd had grown to 4500 animals, but dropped precipitously in the 1970’s, as seasonal movements were stopped and supervision reduced. Sami involvement ended by 1978. Mixing with wild reindeer occurred and by 1998, reindeer husbandry in West Greenland was declared to be finished. Reindeer herding in southern Greenland fared somewhat better. Established in 1973 and by the mid 1990’s had grown to between 1500-2000 animals over 1477 km2.
By 2011 The company Caribou Greenland Aps was formed together with investors from Iceland. Airborne control of the animals is under development.
Download a vegetation map of the Isortoq reindeer area in the Qaqortoq kommune
The text below is from the Isortoq Reindeer Station, a privately owned company that was founded in 1990.
The reindeer at Isortoq Reindeer Station descended from Norwegian reindeer that were introduced to Greenland back in 1953.
Today the station has roughly 2,000 reindeer that roam over a huge area the size of the Faroe Islands. Shortly before the slaughtering season gets underway, the reindeer are herded together using helicopters. Isortoq Reindeer Station has its own EU-approved slaughterhouse and slaughters every year approx. 800 to 1,000 reindeer.
The company exports large quantities of reindeer meat to countries like Canada, Iceland, and EU member countries. The rest of the meat is sold on the Greenlandic domestic market. Most of the reindeer meat is frozen and sold in shops.
Over the past few years, the company has also developed other products and processes, and today it sells an increasing amount of dried reindeer meat products as snacks, etc.
Isortoq’s list of products includes:
- Reindeer meat products, frozen as haunches, backs, etc.
- Dried reindeer meat
- Snacks, etc.
You can purchase reindeer meat products at the following locations:
- Greenland’s Brugsen supermarkets
- Pissifik supermarkets
In addition to frozen and dried reindeer meat, Isortoq also sells rifles and skins and arranges hunting and fishing trips.
Caribou Greenland Aps
Isortoq Reindeer Station
Stefan H. Magnusson
P.O. Box 302
Phone. (gsm mobile) + 299 49 34 36
Landline phone + 299 199 256 / + 299 64 95 25
In Iceland : +354 843 6735
stefanhrafnh [AT] gmail [DOT] com