Arctic reindeer moves closer to endangered listing

Tuesday, April 5, 2011
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced today that the petition filed by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW - to list Peary and Dolphin-Union caribou, or Arctic reindeer, under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA) "may be warranted."

Populations of Arctic reindeer are severely dwindling due to climate change, predation, over-hunting, lack of genetic diversity, inter-species competition and disease.  

“Today’s decision is a very important first step and will hopefully act as a catalyst for global action to save the Arctic reindeer from extinction,” said Jeff Flocken, DC Office Director, IFAW.   “A listing under the ESA would bring meaningful safeguards to the species and attention to the crisis they are facing.”

USFWS will now commence a review of the status of the sub-species to determine whether a listing would be appropriate.  The culmination of this review will be a 12 month finding and, hopefully, an endangered listing.  

Caribou have been a part of the Arctic and Inuit culture for centuries. The overall number of Peary caribou has declined by 84%, from almost 50,000 in the 1960s to less than 7,800 at the turn of the 21st century.

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