tempus fugit

By ceridwen

Climate change hits reindeer

The larger part of the family gathering having departed, leaving the older generation  with streaming (non-Covid) colds, I took the dog for a walk up the nearest hill overlooking the coast. The top, though not very high, is a typical moorland of heather, gorse, moss and lichen. 

Of the latter, the two pictured here (growing side by side as seen) belong to the genus Cladonia. The one on the right is pixie-cup lichen, with the little upright structures like dusty golf tees,  and the one on the left, a soft spongy tangle of pliable strands, is called reindeer moss. In fact both are part of the main diet of reindeer and I was remnded of reading recently that climate change is wreaking havoc with their  normal behaviour in Lapland. Normally the reindeer truffle through the soft snow to reach the lichen growing beneath but warming temperatures mean that there's more rain than snow, or the snow melts fast, with the result that there's a sheet of ice across the ground that the animals can't break through with their soft muzzles. So they are migrating 100s of kilometres in search of food. This is creating huge problems for the Sami people whose lives are dependent upon reindeer herding. 

You can read an item about this here.

(Is there anything we can do, see or hear that does not remind us of climate change?)

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