Why more than half of this year’s reindeer calves in Sweden have died

The reindeer-herding Sami communities in northern Sweden have taken a huge hit this summer with a large number of deaths of young reindeer.

Why more than half of this year's reindeer calves in Sweden have died
It was a tough winter for the reindeer. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

More than half of this year's generations of reindeer calves have already died, reports northern Swedish newspaper NSD.

Only around 30-40 percent of the female reindeer still have their calves, Anders Erling Fjellås, head of the Semisjaur-Njarg Sami village, told the newspaper.

“Normally it would be around maybe 90 percent. Predators then bring the number down as time goes on, but we have not had this early a removal of this many in many years,” he said.

The late spring is to blame, with the winter weather in April-May causing among other things a food shortage. It is also a huge economic hit to the Sami communities that herd and breed the reindeer.

“It was expected, so we have been able to prepare somewhat and put planned investments on hold, but it does affect the balance sheet,” Erling Fjellås told NSD.

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