Reindeer in the Arctic could face harder
times in the future. Lester Graham reports
researchers believe global warming might hurt
their chances for survival:
Reindeer in the arctic could face harder times in the future. Lester Graham reports researchers believe global warming might hurt their chances for survival:
It’s not just reindeer, but caribou, muskox – the hoofed animals in the arctic. They eat lichen and moss when they can find it.
Jaakkoo Putkonen is a researcher at the University of North Dakota. He and his team have studied the arctic herds. He says when it rains in the arctic… it freezes.
“So now you have an ice layer at the snow surface or at the soil surface which basically hinders their access to their feed.”
Putkonen says best case scenario the animals have to paw the ground, work harder to get to the food.
“And in the worst case they don’t get their food. So, basically they starve to death.”
It happens. Five years ago, three-thousand musk-ox couldn’t find food… and died.
And Putkonen says it’ll probably get worse. Computer models predict climate change means more rain in the arctic in the future.
For the Environment Report, this is Lester Graham.