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.

Info Box

Wild forest reindeer

Scientific name: Rangifer tarandus fennicus

Range and numbers:

In Finland, 800 individuals in Kainuu, 2000 individuals in Suomenselkä and about 20 individuals in Seitseminen and Lauhanvuori National Parks (reintroduced populations).

In Russian Karelia up to 2,400. See range map.

Conservation status in Finland (2019): Near Threatened (NT)