Reindeer Deaths Are Alarming; It Is Not Because Of Lightning Strike This Time

First Posted: Nov 17, 2016 04:29 AM EST

Bad news for reindeer fans. More and more reindeer are starving to death because of global warming, new research shows.

It has been previously reported that 323 reindeer were struck by lightning that resulted in their deaths in Norway. Also, 250,000 reindeer are facing destruction because of a Russian Anthrax outbreak. In a new study, it shows that in the Arctic tundra, the reindeer are also facing a tough situation as the planet continues to heat up.

A worldwide research team is currently studying what they call "mortality episodes" or mass deaths of reindeer herds. They have been focusing in the herd that inhabits the Yamal Peninsula in Russia.

In the study that has been published this week in the journal Biology Letters, the ecologists show that if there will be an increase in heavy autumn rains at the peninsula, which is connected to global warming and decrease the sea ice that resulted in exposure of warmer underneath, it could lead to thick layers of ice hardening on top of the snow.

Reindeer cannot have an access to the Arctic plant life underneath because their hooves are too weak to penetrate the ice. It will result in thousands of reindeer to starve and eventually die.

The authors of the study said that in November 2013, the starvation of reindeer already happened. It was about 61,000 of Rudolph's brethren succumbed to famine. Also, in November 2006, seven years before, another 20,000 reindeer also died, according to Global News.

In line with this, according to the indigenous herders, the events of reindeer deaths because of starvation have been happening every decade for a long time. But now, it is happening more frequently.

The researchers noted that "The suggested link between sea ice loss, more frequent and intense (rain-on-snow) events and high reindeer mortality has serious implications for the future of tundra Nenets nomadism."

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