Thursday, 7 December 2017

Looks Like Rain, Dear!

...said Santa to his wife, as he drew back the curtains. Joking apart, did you know that reindeer do not like rain? Their coats are designed to keep them warm in snow- but rain is not good for them. A Dorset woman, Susie Stewart, is Britain's only registered Reindeer Breeder, and she was recently featured on the BBC News Website in a brief video clip about her animals.
In the clip, she explains her concern about the future of these Finnish reindeer in their native habitat. 
Global warming is seriously affecting them - and the other reindeer in Russia and Alaska and Canada...all round the Arctic. A study a year ago showed that reindeer are getting smaller. Less chilly winters mean that whereas before, there were reliable snowfalls, often the higher temperatures mean rain instead. So there are sheets of ice, which the beasts cannot get through to forage their food. There has been a 15% decrease in adult body weight. Some reindeer starve, others give birth to stunted young. There is an imbalance in the food chain- the arctic foxes who scavenge on bodies of dead reindeer] are thriving. The change in weather patterns affects the reindeer migration routes - and often when they reach their destination, the food they are looking for is already past its best.
Other things, like drilling for oil in arctic regions is also impacting the future of these beautiful beasts. It is happening in Russia right now. 
A year ago, in one of the final acts of his Presidency, Barack Obama sought to protect these Arctic waters, as he and Justin Trudeau both brought in laws to ban drilling. This strengthens laws which have been brought in by the US government since 1960 and the days of Eisenhower [and built on by Jimmy Carter et al]
In case you missed it, Donald Trump's Tax Bill has just overturned all this. I do not understand these things - but fail to see how granting permission for drilling for oil in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge has any place at all in a tax bill.
I read somewhere [cannot find it again] that shoppers in a mall in the States complained to the management because "The reindeer in the display are smaller than last year"
The report did not say whether these were Republicans or Democrats. Perhaps they should take this issue up with their President.

Susie Stewart says that people from Finland have been to see how she manages her herd in England's warmer climes. She too is very concerned about the future of these lovely animals. SS is from the family that runs Stewart's Garden Centres- the people who opened Britain's first ever Garden Centre, right here in Ferndown back in 1955. This little town certainly has an amazing past.


  1. Just speechless about news from everywhere this week.

  2. 1955 - a very good year!
    A Christmas tree barn/decorations selling centre where we lived had two sad looking reindeer there the other year - I felt very sorry for them shut in a small pen for sevaral weeks.

    I do love your post titles every day they always make me smile!


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