Update on the Global Status of Wild Reindeer and Caribou

Susana González
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Rangifer tarandus (wild reindeer or caribou) is an abundant and widely distributed member of the deer family across the circum-arctic tundra and boreal forests. Rangifer through its sheer numbers has a dominant role in arctic ecology and in the lives of Indigenous people. By 2016, the IUCN Red List classified the global status as Vulnerable based on an overall 40% decline over three generations. At national and regional scales, forest Rangifer are the most likely sub-species to be nationally or regionally recognised as at risk, but recently, migratory tundra Rangifer also have been recognized as at risk. Natural fluctuations accentuated by human activities are driving many declines and on the southern extent of Rangifer distribution, extractive industries have removed mature forests leaving Rangifer susceptible to incidental predation. Despite many declines being well-monitored and studied, recovery is slow or often stalled but recent changes to conservation planning, especially Indigenous initiatives and landscape management raise hopes for renewed and effective conservation.