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Baby reindeer starving in Swedish mountains
The reindeer in the picture is not the reindeer mentioned in the article.

Baby reindeer starving in Swedish mountains

Published: 29 May 2012 09:53 GMT+02:00
Updated: 29 May 2012 09:53 GMT+02:00

Sweden’s reindeer population is suffering due to a late spring in the north, with herders fearing that the lack of food will ruin this year’s calving season and leaving dead calves on the mountain.

“It’s been a real crap spring. We’ve had bad years before but then there have been some bits of the mountain without snow cover. At the moment there is a still lot of snow in the mountains and we are really worried how this will work out,” said Mikael Jonsson, head of Rans Sámi village to local paper Västerbottenskuriren (VK).

Herders fear that the cold will mean one of the worst calving seasons in living memory. Jonsson has worked with reindeer for over 25 years and he can’t remember a year with worse conditions than this.

“I have already started finding dead reindeer calves on the mountain,” he told VK.

And just how bad it is going to be will be impossible to say before July, when the new calves are branded. Before then the reindeer cows must be left in peace or there is a risk that they will leave their young to the perils of the mountain.

One of these is the natural predators of the mountain, foxes and birds of prey. According to the paper, the last years’ record numbers of rats and field-mice have increased the predator population on the mountain.

When these have depleted the excess of rodents, they turn to the new-born calves, if given a chance, reports the paper.

TT/Rebecca Martin

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Your comments about this article

19:31 May 29, 2012 by johan rebel
There are far too many reindeer in Sweden, which cause serious damage to the natural environment through overgrazing. The more calves who bite the dust the better.
22:03 May 29, 2012 by dendrobates
Johan Rebel you cannot be serious! The nature is perfect by design and the only disturbing creatures that alter such balance are humans. If you exterminate the natural predators the balance is broken. Lucky for you ignorance has cure!
22:16 May 29, 2012 by Tarc the Mexan
#2: it's a known fact that the Samis actively engage in the illegal removal of any natural predators.
08:50 May 30, 2012 by karex
Surely they can supplement the food? Or drive the reindeer farther down the mountain where there is no snow cover?
20:15 May 30, 2012 by Tarc the Mexan
#4: they can, but modern day Samis view reindeer farming as a 9-to-5 job and they simply can't be arsed to travel with and look out for the herd. The Sami were originally a nomadic people travelling with their herds, today they sit on their asses and demand taxpayer money for every reindeer killed by predators or traffic.
13:58 June 8, 2012 by rohermoker
I have seen this thing happen with the herd of Minnesota White Tail deer before. Bad winters, late springs the herd goes down,and hunters are allowed one deer per season. 5 years latter we have to many, and hunters can take 5 deer. Minnesota now has a record number of predators, the timber wolf is no longer a protected animal, I have seen then on my game cameras, and I have the largest deer count on my property I have seen over the last 50 years. Weather in my opinion has a greater effect on the herd than predators.
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