Climate change making reindeer tinier: Study

Reindeers in natural environment, Tromso region, Northern Norway.Those reindeer facts were well and good. But there’s a reindeer story, too, that’s more serious.

It seems reindeer are shrinking — getting smaller and lighter — because of climate change, according to a study announced last week by Norwegian and Scottish scientists.

The scientists speculate that rising temperatures in the Arctic are leading to more rain there, then more ice when it falls onto snow, which makes it hard for the reindeer to get through the ice to their food. “For pregnant females, the resultant starvation causes them to abort or give birth to malnourished calves,” said a story on the study in Mother Jones.

The story said the indigenous Sami people of northern Scandinavia are suffering from this, too. The Sami “consider reindeer a linchpin of their cultural identity,” it said, and in recent years have been suffering a “widespread mental health crisis and mounting suicide rate.”

Also covering the study were, among others, Scientific American and the Washington Post.

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