In addition to poaching, the wild forest reindeer that live near the great lakes of Karelia are also disturbed by tourists. The beautiful regions attract many people during all seasons, and the travel routes are often located in the habitats of the wild forest reindeer. Tourists are not a threat to the wild forest reindeer per se, but they may indirectly have an effect on the change in the animals’ habitat. In the summer, people occupy nearly all of the Lake Topozero and Lake Pyaozero islands suitable for the wild forest reindeer, scare the animals, restrict their movements and take from them places where the wild forest reindeer can protect themselves from blood-sucking insects.
In the winter, tourist groups move in snowmobiles on the ice on top of the lakes and may disturb the wild forest reindeer that have gathered on the ice. Chasing the animals with a snowmobile may result in serious consequences for the animals, such as the bursting of lungs and capillaries. It may lead to pulmonary edema, which is followed by a long-term illness and even death.
Wild forest reindeer
Latin name: Rangifer tarandus fennicus, a wild "cousin" of the reindeer
Range and numbers:
In Finland, 700 individuals in Kainuu and 1,250 in Suomenselkä
In Russian Karelia up to 2,400, with an estimated 1,500 in Arkhangelsk and 2,500 in Kom (the question of the taxonomic status of wild reindeer of Arkhangelsk province and Komi Republic is open and requires special research). See range map.
Conservation status in Finland: Near Threatened (NT)