In DepthEcology

What's killing the reindeer?

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Science  07 Nov 2014:
Vol. 346, Issue 6210, pp. 685
DOI: 10.1126/science.346.6210.685

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Summary

An ecologist's study of reindeer has touched off a firestorm. Each year, Sami herders in Norway file compensation claims for tens of thousands of reindeer deaths that they blame on carnivores, primarily lynx and wolverines. Ecologist Torkild Tveraa, however, pins the blame on overpopulation: The land simply cannot support the herds. Tveraa, who is with the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research in Tromsø, first presented his case in a government-funded report last year, and he added new analysis in a study published in the October issue of the Journal of Applied Ecology. The government has pointed to the findings as exonerating the threatened lynx and wolverines, which are already protected by strict hunting limits. To the Sami, however, the study threatens an economic lifeline.

  • * in Nordkapp, Norway