Adapting reindeer husbandry to changes in vegetation change and snow cover

Did you know?
Dependence of many Arctic Peoples on reindeer evolved from hunting wild reindeer through herding reindeer to farming reindeer. The lasso changed the way of life of the herders as they could catch animals.
Reindeer need to be protected from their predators - wolves, wolverine and even bears.
Climate change affects the vegetation that reindeer eat. For example, when snow melts and ice forms on the tundra during warm winter weather events, the reindeer cannot get to their lichen and moss food underneath.
Climate change affects the reindeer directly, for example in summer when they overheat, they stop feeding, body fat reserves decrease and more reindeer die.

Fascinating Facts!
Reindeer can be used to minimise climate change impacts!
  • Male reindeer are used by herders to break ice and snow crusts so that smaller females and calves can feed.
  • Reindeer browse the shrubs that are colonizing the tundra and slow down the greening of the Arctic.
There are big advantages when scientists and reindeer herders work together
  • Scientists have worked with Sámi people to help understand the rain-on-snow events and their impacts on reindeer and the surrounding ecosystems.
  • The scientists are able to collaborate by using technology and research of the weather effects while the Sámi people provide inter-generational knowledge on the changing weather patterns and its impact on their livelihoods and the environment.
  • Just like in a classroom, it is easier to work in a team! Everyone has different ideas and perspectives and this can help you to reach a better outcome quickly and more efficiently.
You can look at a reindeer ear to find out who is the owner
Did you know that caribou in north America are the same as reindeer but reindeer were semi-domesticated so father Christmas uses reindeer
Get Active!
Reindeer Quiz
How many things are reindeer used for by reindeer herders? Try to answer each question below and click on to learn the answer.
What do they use the meat for?
Eating dried and fresh and for income.
What do they use the milk for?
It is used for cheese, butter and baby food both fresh and dried.
How do reindeer herders use the fur?
It is used for shoes, gloves, hats other clothes, sleeping bags, and leather.
How do reindeer herders use the bones?
They are used to make toy knives for kids.
How do reindeer herders use the reindeer for transportation?
In winter for pulling sledges and pulling skiers. In summer for riding and carrying packs.
What are the antlers used for?
Knife sheaths and handles, lasso rings called "Giella", fishing hooks and needle boxes.
Learn How to Tie Your Own Lasso!
Though a lasso may seem like just a piece of rope to us, it was essential in changing the way of life for reindeer herders in the Arctic. The lasso enabled reindeer herding and husbandry to take over from hunting as a way of life. Try to make a lasso yourself using the steps below! Can you use it as well as an Arctic reindeer herder can?
Component 1
Component 2
Do not try this on an animal, person or moving object
Tie a loose overhand knot in the middle of the rope
Pass the tail end of the rope back through the knot just made
Tighten the knot by pulling the front end of the rope – do not let the tail end of the rope pull through the knot
Pull the tail end of the rope through the knot to create the loop
Tie a stopper knot with the tail end of the rope just passed through the knot – this is to stop the lasso from becoming loose when you catch something!
Throw the lasso by swinging it above your head, clockwise by twirling your wrist
Then release the lasso, using the momentum from the rotation to let it swing forward
Pull the rope when you catch your target to tighten the lasso

The lasso ring "Giella". The giella actually means trap, originally it was tied to a tree and used for hunting but today it is thrown. It is made from reindeer antler, the part that is closest to the head and is the strongest. The distance between the two holes should be the width of a reindeer calf bone or two fingers.
Information from Sámi reindeer herder Niklas Labba