Scientists say reindeer may be shrinking due to warming Wild reindeer forage for food on the island of Spitsbergen which is part of the Svalbard archipelago in Norway. (Ben Birchall/PA, File via AP/AP Photo/Igor Novikov)
Scientists say reindeer may be shrinking due to warming
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Reindeer living on the Arctic island of Svalbard are getting smaller - and scientists say climate change may be the cause.
 
Scientists from Britain and Norway have found that adult Svalbard reindeer born in 2010 weigh 12 percent less on average than those born in 1994.
 
Ecologist Steve Albon of Scotland's James Hutton Institute says rising temperatures in the Arctic mean Svalbard is getting more rain, creating a hard ice sheet the island's reindeer can't easily break through to reach food.
 
Reindeer populations are also increasing due to warmer summers, stoking competition.
 
Albon says researchers think there is a correlation between rising temperatures and reindeer weight. He says more research is needed to confirm the link.
 
Their findings were presented Dec. 12 at a meeting of the British Ecological Society.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
How is warmer weather affecting reindeer?
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COMMENTS (5)
  • monicas-ste
    12/15/2016 - 11:32 a.m.

    That's crazy. I can't believe that would happen. Who knew stuff like this could happen.

  • irisp-ste
    12/19/2016 - 09:01 a.m.

    Scientists believe that the warm weather is causing the reindeer to shrink in size. The increase of rain in their community has led to difficulties in the reindeer getting food. If the reindeer are eating less, they will not be able to grow at the same rate.

  • zakrym-ste
    12/19/2016 - 01:56 p.m.

    Scientist think that they are shrinking in size because of the warmer weather. They are having trouble getting food because of rain. Without an efficient amount of food, they will not be able to grow.

  • kaileew-ste
    12/22/2016 - 02:27 p.m.

    Between the reindeer born a few years ago and the reindeer born in the 1900's, there is a 12% difference in their weight. Scientists say it is because of the warm weather. I think this is an interesting theory and I wonder if it's actually true.

  • noahr-ste
    1/05/2017 - 01:34 p.m.

    Reindeer are believed to be getting smaller because of the warmer conditions causing more rain and then the deer not being able to eat.

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