Here Is Why Reindeer Are Not Happy This Christmas
While some people imagine North Pole reindeer having the time of their lives on Christmas season, climate change is prompting Rudolph and his friends to despise it like Grinch.
The Telegraph reported that reindeer in Acrtic island near the North Pole are losing much weight in winter due to the changes in temperature that make it hard for them to find food. Researchers from Scotland and Norway have discovered that the average weight of adult reindeer in Svalbard, Norway, was reduced from 55 kg (121 lb) to 48 kg (106 lb) through the 1990s as temperatures in the islands gradually arise.
"So far we have more but smaller reindeer," said study's lead author Professor Steve Albon, an ecologist at the James Hutton Institute in Scotland. "Warmer summers are great for reindeer but winters are getting increasingly tough."
According to their study, irregular temperatures during winter are causing snow to turn into rain, which eventually becomes sheets of ice that freeze the plants. Since reindeer are herbivores, this phenomenon has caused a serious problem in their search for food.
During this season, many reindeer starve and females end up giving birth to undersized fawns. Thankfully, though, summer is a great season as many plants thrive. This enables the females to have healthier pregnancy, making them more likely to conceive during fall.
Females do only give birth to one fawn or, on some lucky occasions, two. A healthy newborn usually weighs around 10 to 11 pounds (about 4 to 5 kg) and are fed with milk that actually contains more fat than cow's milk.
Since the 1990s, reindeer population in Svalbard, which is located about 1,300 km (800 miles) from the North Pole, has increased from 800 to 1,400. Although this is good news for wildlife conservation, the growing number triggers risky competition for limited food during winter.