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Wild reindeer numbers are healthy, but their habitat is under pressure

Target

1.1 Norwegian ecosystems will achieve good status and deliver ecosystem services.

Indicator

Population status of species on which harvesting has significant impacts
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Are we moving in the right direction? Published by the Norwegian Environment Agency

Norway is home to the last remaining viable populations of wild reindeer in Europe, and we therefore have a special responsibility for ensuring their survival. 

Wild reindeer are not considered to be threatened in Norway today. The total population numbers about 35 000 animals, split between 23 different management areas. Population counts are obtained through a combination of aerial censuses and ground observations. This gives a good overview of the number of reindeer in each of the management areas. 

The wild reindeer populations are regulated by hunting. To ensure a balance between grazing resources and the number of reindeer, some animals need to be culled in each management area. The number of reindeer hunted has been fairly stable for the last years, although there has been fewer reindeers hunted in some areas compared to the target for 2017.

Wild reindeer require large continuous areas of suitable habitat with little disturbance if their numbers are to remain healthy in the long term. Nowadays, there is constant pressure to develop areas of wild reindeer habitat, for example for hydropower purposes or holiday cabins. Protected areas in the mountains include only parts of the areas used by wild reindeer, and local and regional planning processes are therefore vital for improving reindeer management.