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Andersson, Jessica, 2024. Home range and movement of reindeer (Rangifer t. tarandus) in three Sámi reindeer herding districts in Norway - Influence of winter feeding and weather. Second cycle, A2E. Uppsala: SLU, Applied Animal Science and Welfare



Reindeer husbandry is an essential part of the indigenous Sámi society carrying cultural and ecological significance, both historically and today. Herders face issues such as loss of pastures to expanding infrastructure, a decline of lichens and deteriorating conditions of pastures due to climate change. Because of this, many herders are forced to use feed the animals in the winter. Within the research project WELFED, GPS data was collected from 90 reindeer across three different herding districts in Norway; Rákkonjárga, Ildgruben and Riast/Hylling, with varying feeding practices. The purpose of this thesis was to examine how home range size, overlap and movement rate was affected by supplementary feeding during two periods in the winter of 2022/23. The first time period took place before feeding had started, while the second time period was set when winter feeding was used in two of the studied districts. Movement was also analysed in relation to different weather parameters.

Home range size was found to be significantly larger, and step length significantly longer, during feeding in Rákkonjárga compared to the timeperiod before feeding, while the opposite was true in Ildgruben. In Riast, no feeding occurred in the winter of 2022/23 and no significant difference could be detected between the two time periods. Multiple linear regression models revealed that wind speed had a significantly negative effect on step length during the first time period, when feeding had not started, while precipitation had a significantly negative effect in the second time period, when feeding occurred in two areas.

The results from this thesis imply that feeding practices and weather conditions influence home ranges and movement of reindeer. As reindeer husbandry confronts escalating challenges, such as climate change and encroaching infrastructure, supplementary feeding is thought to become a growing practice among herders. The results revealed here, together with previous studies and knowledge, underscores the need for careful consideration when implementing such measures. Concerted efforts among Sámi communities, government agencies and competing land use is essential for preserving a sustainable future for reindeer herding.

Main title:Home range and movement of reindeer (Rangifer t. tarandus) in three Sámi reindeer herding districts in Norway - Influence of winter feeding and weather
Authors:Andersson, Jessica
Supervisor:Skarin, Anna and Eilertsen, Svein-Morten
Examiner:Rönnegård, Lars
Volume/Sequential designation:UNSPECIFIED
Year of Publication:2024
Level and depth descriptor:Second cycle, A2E
Student's programme affiliation:Other
Supervising department:(VH) > Applied Animal Science and Welfare
Keywords:GPS, Brownian Bridge Movement Model, home range, reindeer herding, supplemental feeding, Norway, climate change
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Deposited On:27 Jun 2024 10:41
Metadata Last Modified:05 Jul 2024 01:18

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