How Reindeer Are Being Threatened by Climate Change: 'Something Is Really Wrong'

Santa Claus may soon need a new form of transportation: A new study reveals climate change is wreaking havoc on the reindeer population.

The U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration put out a study warning that the Arctic’s number of wild reindeer has decreased by 56 percent — from 5 million to 2.1 million reindeer — in the last two decades, according to Fortune.

More snow and a decreasing amount of food and insects are all potential effects of climate change that are harming reindeer, according to Bloomberg’s TicToc video.

Heavier rainfall is also an issue as freezing rain stops reindeer from accessing sustenance. “If we now get pour[ing] rain coming on the snow, it means that the reindeer food, it’s going to be in [an] icebox,” Matti Sarkela with the Reindeer Herders’ Association said in Bloomberg’s video. “Reindeer can’t dig lichen from the ground.”

Drought is an additional concern. “We see increased drought in some areas due to climate warming, and the warming itself leads to a change of vegetation,” University of Virginia scientist Howard Epstein told the BBC.

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Earlier in December, NBC News reported that too little snow had fallen for reindeer to start migrating.

“Something is really wrong with nature,” Swedish herder Niila Inga told the outlet. “I can’t ask my father what to do now because he hasn’t seen this; it hasn’t happened during his lifetime.”

Ultimately, reindeer are tough, but climate change may be tougher.

“Of course, we might consider that reindeer are quite resilient. They can adapt to very drastic conditions,” Stephanie Lefrere from the Finnish Environment Institute added in the Bloomberg video. “But now the changes are too rapid.”

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