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
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)