What threatens the wild forest reindeer and why is it doing so badly?

In Finland, and especially in Kainuu, the falling population of wild forest reindeer that began at the start of the twenty-first century has been associated with large predators, and especially with wolves. It is true that there is a connection between these species. However, a broader network of interactions lies in the background.

One major cause for the declining population of wild forest reindeer is the fact that it is naturally quite slow to reproduce. When the mortality rate increases sufficiently, and is made up of a variety of factors, population growth can stop and turn into population decline.

These pages examine the known threats facing wild forest reindeer populations.

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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)