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Thursday, July 18, 2024

Reindeer tragedy in Finnmark

More than 100 reindeer returning from summer grazing land along the coast to inland winter grazing in Northern Norway were found drowned in a lake in Finnmark late last week. Mild temperatures made the ice that had formed on the lake too thin to support the reindeers’ weight.

Reindeer grazing along the coast of the Porsganger Fjord in Finnmark. They seasonally return to inland areas at higher elevations for winter grazing.  PHOTO: NewsinEnglish.no/Morten Møst

“It’s a terrible tragedy,” district leader Mathis Somby told news bureau NTB. He noted that the reindeer herders also face financial losses amounting to several hundred thousand Norwegian kroner.

There were no witnesses to the mass drowning of the reindeer in the remote lake Skáiddejávri in Porsanger, situated in a wilderness area between Lakselv and Kvalsund. The reindeer were part of a herd of as many as 5,000 animals moving up to inland areas for winter grazing.

Winter grazing on the mountain plateau of Finnmarksvidda. PHOTO: Landbruks- og matdepartementet/Kaja Schill Godager

A herder who arrived at the scene Friday morning said he found between 100 and 200 of the reindeer lifeless in the icy water. There were strong winds and snowfall in the area at the time.

Somby said it was too dangerous to venture out on the lake to try to rescue or retrieve any of the reindeer. Local authorities at both the regional governor’s office in Finnmark and at the agricultural directorate were notified.

NewsinEnglish.no staff

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