Saturday, 8 December 2012

World’s largest reindeer herd in danger of extinction


George River herd shrunk from 8-900,000 to fewer than 30,000
December 2012. A reindeer herd which was once the largest in the world has shrunk to a fraction of its former size, official surveys have revealed. Canada's George River Herd once numbered 8-900,000, but a recent government survey found that only 27,600 animals survive.

The herd's unprecedented and dramatic decline has left local indigenous people fearful for its survival. A ‘tsunami of factors' has been blamed for the decline, which government ministers have called ‘significant and frightening.'

63% drop in 2 years
The reindeer, known as caribou in North America, is central to the lives and culture of many indigenous peoples in the sub-Arctic. The 63% population drop just in the last two years has left many of them shocked.

Mining
Speaking to Survival International, George Rich, an elder from northeast Canada's Innu people, said, ‘one of the major factors is continued mining and mineral exploration. For example, Quest Minerals has recently announced that it wants to build a road through the heart of the calving grounds, as well as flying helicopters and planes back and forth from exploration sites.'

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