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The Green Life: A Christmas Crisis: No More Reindeer

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December 17, 2009

A Christmas Crisis: No More Reindeer

Reindeer It’s coming on Christmas, they’re cutting down trees – and now Santa’s reindeer might go extinct.

Because the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has failed to list two subspecies of caribou (a.k.a. reindeer) as endangered, their populations remain unprotected and vulnerable to climate change.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare estimates that of 43 global reindeer and caribou populations studied in the past decade, 34 have declining populations because of climate change. The two subspecies in question – the Peary and Dolphin-Union caribou – have suffered the heaviest declines. Peary caribou numbers have dropped from 50,000 in the 1960s to fewer than 7,800 today. With the weather changing in the Arctic, the reindeer don’t have enough food and are starving.

This is bad news not only for the reindeer, but for the Christmas wishes of all the good little girls and boys in the world. How’s Santa supposed to deliver gifts if Dasher, Dancer, and all the rest aren’t there to pull his sleigh? 

-- Année Tousseau

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