MURMANSK, Russia, Nov. 29 (UPI) — Reindeer herders in northern Russia say climate change threatens their livelihoods.
The Saami — reindeer herders in northern Russia, near the borders of Norway and Finnish Lapland — say a string of mild winters has delayed the freezing of lakes the herds travel over. That, in turn, has pushed back the Saami’s slaughter season, Deutsche Welle reported Sunday.
“The slaughter used to start in early November,” herder Nikolai Filippov said. “But over the past few years, the ice has been weak and sparse so we cannot travel, and the slaughter has to be postponed until just before the New Year. This year, yields will be minimal.
“Sometimes it is still raining around the New Year, and you cannot go over bare ice with the reindeer. So then you will have to wait until after the New Year. In fact, the winter only starts in January. For now it is a mixture of frost and thaw.”.
Filippov said there is no doubt nature is changing.
“In the old days, it never rained in December,” he said. “When it rains in winter, the snow disappears and we can’t move on with our animals to search for reindeer moss.”
Copyright 2009 by United Press International