Source
Scholastic News Edition 4
Scholastic News Edition 4 provides exciting science and social studies features and helps kids build their geography skills.
Subscribe
Reindeer, also called caribou, are the only type of deer in which both males and females have antlers. (Eva Mårtensson / Getty Images)

Reindeer at Risk

Why are reindeer herds shrinking?

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer saves the day in the popular holiday song. But now it’s reindeer that need saving. Over the past 30 years, their numbers in many areas have dropped by more than half. Many scientists say that habitat loss and rising temperatures are to blame.

Reindeer roam the icy tundra and snowy forests of the Arctic region. But their habitats are being taken over by people. Logging, mining, and the building of roads have driven many herds out of areas in the U.S., Canada, and Russia.

To make matters worse, the Arctic is slowly heating up. The region now often gets freezing rain instead of snow. That makes it harder for reindeer to get their food. Their winter diet is lichen (LYE-ken), a tiny plantlike form of life . It grows on rocks and in soil. Freezing rain covers lichen with ice that is too thick for reindeer to dig through. If they can’t reach their food, they can starve.

That’s bad news for native people in the region too. They rely on reindeer for food, clothing, and transportation.

Reindeer also play a key role in the Arctic food chain. Fewer reindeer can mean less food for predators, such as wolves.

RESCUE PLAN

Government leaders in the U.S. recently took action to help reindeer. They approved a plan to protect parts of Alaska where the animals live.

“Reindeer are a symbol of the North ,” says wildlife expert Justina Ray . “If we take care of them, we’ll be taking care of other Arctic animals too.”

This article appeared in the December 3, 2012 issue of Scholastic News Edition 4. For more from Scholastic News, click here.

 

  • Teacher Store
  • The Teacher Store  
    Life in the Arctic Tundra: Teaching With the Best of Instructor

    Life in the Arctic Tundra: Teaching With the Best of Instructor

    Take students on an imaginary expedition to the frozen desert of the Arctic tundra by setting up a wintry reading display of tundra themed books and articles and photographs from magazines. Students use the resources to learn about arctic animals and the environment of the tundra. This resource contains a number of clever and fun experiments your students can conduct to learn more about the arctic tundra.

    $0.99
    ePage | Grades 1-4
    Add To Cart
    Educators Only
    Life in the Arctic Tundra: Teaching With the Best of Instructor
    Grades 1-4 $0.99
    Add To Cart
  • Teacher Store
  • The Teacher Store  
    Life in a Tundra

    Life in a Tundra

    by Kari Schuetz

    Offering a stark contrast to hot, sandy deserts and tropical rain forests, the tundra is buried in snow and ice most of the year. However, life finds a way to flourish. During the short summer, flowers bloom and animals roam the land even though temperatures rarely reach 50 degrees Fahrenheit! This title will teach young readers how plants and animals survive in severe cold.

    $17.25 You save: 25%
    Library Binding | Grades 2-3
    Add To Cart
    Educators Only
    Life in a Tundra
    Grades 2-3 $17.25
    Add To Cart
Privacy Policy
EMAIL THIS

* YOUR FIRST NAME ONLY

* FRIEND'S FIRST NAME ONLY

* FRIEND'S EMAIL ADDRESS

MESSAGE
Here's something interesting from Scholastic.com