Huge amounts of snow can cause a famine disaster for reindeer in Finnmark

KAUTOKEINO.Reindeer.Photo: Stian Lysberg Solum / Scanpix

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An unusual amount of snow and little wind means that the reindeer in Finnmark in many places are unable to dig down to the food. Reindeer herders fear a pasture crisis.

“We hope that it stabilizes at minus 10 and that there is no more snow,” says John Anders Sara, head of reindeer grazing district 16 in Karasjok and among the hardest hit, to NRK.

Even more snow is expected in March and April, so what they hope for the most is wind, which blows away all the snow from the lichen for the reindeer.

In 1997 and 2000, there were also demanding conditions, which led to mass deaths of reindeer in Finnmark.

This year’s amount of snow was not foreseen, so the industry has not prepared.

“This could be the worst disaster in Norwegian reindeer herding,” says Sara.

“This has not happened before here with us. It came as a shock that it was like that,” he says.

Several hundred reindeer owners are affected. Grazing conditions are particularly demanding in Inner Finnmark, but the entire region has been affected and some areas have started to run out of winter pasture.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today

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