It was inevitable, given the timing, that Andrey Petrov’s latest research would get some unusual treatment.
At the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco last week, Petrov presented a report showing that one of the world’s largest reindeer herds is contracting. After reaching a peak population of around a million in 2000, the pack has fallen to around 600,000 in the Taimyr Peninsula, its home territory and one Russia’s northernmost parts.
With Christmas just days away, some websites relayed the news with a tongue-in-cheek approach.
At Gizmodo, the headline was “400,000 Reindeer Vanish in Ongoing War on Christmas.”
LiveScience introduced its piece with “Santa’s Reindeer Feel the Heat as Numbers Shrink Worldwide.” The lead goes on with “Santa Claus better stock up on reindeer, because he may have trouble scrounging up replacements in the not-too-distant future, new research suggests,” before continuing with a serious and thorough report.
The BBC, meanwhile, played it straight.
I’ll admit: the Christmas time peg is one reason I’m also jumping on this study. But there are serious reasons and ramifications for the worldwide reindeer decline. Read the rest of this entry »