Endangered Kola Peninsula wild reindeer could get protected status

The peninsula's western population has already been protected, but local officials now hope to see protections extended to eastern populations, too.

By Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer - February 19, 2019
Russia’s Kola Peninsula is the only area in the European Arctic with wild reindeer. (Atle Staalesen / The Independent Barents Observer)

Wild reindeer on the central and eastern part of the Kola Peninsula, in particular within the Terek and Lovozero districts, have been suggested for listing in Russia’s so-called Red Book, established to protect rare and endangered species.

In a meeting of the commission on endangered flora and fauna last week, Murmansk regional authorities decided to include the eastern wild reindeer on their proposal to the federal list, Murmanski Vestnik reports.

In 2014, the western population of wild reindeer on the Kola Peninsula was included to the Red Book. The western reindeer are found in the areas from south of Murmansk city towards the border to Finland along the Lotta river and further south towards Kovdor district. Poaching, however, still happens and the population has not increased since 2014.

“If the Ministry of Natural Resources of the Russian Federation supports our proposal, then the entire population of wild reindeer in the Murmansk region will be in the Red Book. Today’s decision will eliminate hunting forever,” Deputy Governor Yevgeny Nikora told Murmanski Vestnik after the meeting he chaired.

Kola Peninsula is the only area in Europe north of the Arctic Circle with wild reindeer. In Scandinavia, there are wild reindeer in southern Norway, with the northernmost populations in the area around Dovre and Rondane.