Mary’s Monday Metazoan: The reindeer are suffering

Climate change isn’t helping the reindeer.

reindeerReindeer are getting smaller. As temperatures inch up, winters are getting warmer in Norway, where Svalbard reindeer (Rangifer tarandus platyrhynchus) live. Instead of being able to brush aside the snow that covers the grasses, lichens, and mosses they eat during the 8-month-long chill, the animals’ diet is locked away under a layer of ice when warming temperatures cause rain to fall on existing snow cover, freezing it solid.

Meanwhile, climate change denialists are feeding richly in Washington DC.


  1. Jake Harban says

    While the current pattern climate change is happening virtually instantaneously on a geological time scale it, like all patterns of climate change, is happening very slowly with respect to a single human’s lifespan. And we’ve never been all that good at noticing and grasping gradual trends unfolding over the course of our lives.

    Ninety years from now, most people will be impoverished, struggling, and desperate but few of them will blame their predicament on climate change— most won’t even know that things were ever different.

  2. wzrd1 says

    @PZ, I expect a hell of a lot better from you!
    First, animals are suffering, no cited articles to support that, which are indeed plentiful.
    Second, not even an op-ed, to disclaim that lack of homework.
    Oh wait, you’re a “school marm”.*

    *I loathe hitting up in elder years. So, when doing so, well, it’s reflected and responses should be attuned to that level of my own response.
    I know that you can do better, you’ ve done so for longer than our children, who have granted us grand children have been alive.
    Bad day?
    Know that one, just went from 25 at night to 40-ish.
    Yet another mission for Barometerman!
    Meanwhile, Il’l calll off from work. ;)

    Still, I do own a gun and want to grease my joints with it.
    Alas, I note a lack of grease fittings.
    Obviously, I should “declare war” (Only US Congres can do so).
    So, therefore, I declare war upon gravity. It’s always keeping me down .;)

  3. ethicsgradient says

    And their numbers are decreasing too:

    The world’s largest wild reindeer herd has fallen by 40% since 2000, scientists have warned.

    They say that the animals, which live in the Taimyr Peninsula in the northernmost tip of Russia, are being affected by rising temperatures and human activity.

    This is causing the animals to change their annual migration patterns.

    The research has been presented at the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU).

  4. Derek Vandivere says

    wzrd1, are you okay?

    It’s not just your weird rambling text but the fact that you seem to have missed the fact that the link in pz’s post goes to Science, which gives the stats and links through to the study.

  5. multitool says

    In 20 years the GOP strategy will be to convince us that polar bears and reindeer never existed.

  6. robro says

    I thought this statement was interesting: “Female reindeer below 50 kilograms give birth to smaller calves and even terminate their fetuses to save themselves if too little food is available.” Basically, natural abortion to protect the mother. Geez, can our stupid ideologies screw us up.

  7. Ice Swimmer says

    The domesticated reindeer could also have other problems stemming from climate change. Deer keds (which are blood-sucking parasitic flies) may spread north into the reindeer herding country and become a huge nuisance for the reindeer, even if their preferred host might be the moose.

  8. Ice Swimmer says

    johnhodges @ 8

    I think that’s a young reindeer as the antlers haven’t branched out much.

  9. wzrd1 says

    @Derek Vandivere, actually, wrong post and an attempted late night joke got tangled in dyslexia.

    In regards to this, we’re going to be seeing a great deal more of this, I’m afraid.

    Although, we’re beginning to work toward our own society’s demise, which might mitigate some of our pollution and hence, warming.
    Local Zika virus infection in Cameron County, Texas.
    Widespread microcephaly will certainly tend to limit the ability of a population to pollute or work in a job that creates CO2 pollution.