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Reindeer Husbandry in Norway - Number of Reindeer PDF  | Print |
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Reindeer Husbandry in Norway
Rights to Own Reindeer
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Number of Reindeer

The number of reindeer in Norway, which are calculated after slaughtering reindeer has been drawn from the herd and before the calving starts in may, fluctuates but is normally around 200 000. In Norway the reindeer numbers where 242 000 year 1990, 172 000 year 2000 and 241 000 year 2007. The most common reasons for these fluctuations include for example difficult climatic situations during several winters, increasing predation levels and poor pasture conditions.

As Norway modernized in the post war period the new regulations and administrative structures were introduced into reindeer husbandry, which had the effect of increasing state control over the livelihood. The rapid development of Norway in this period has brought significant economic and infrastructural and social development to the North. However it has also radically altered traditional Sámi reindeer herding structures.

There has been considerable public debate regarding the number of reindeer in Finnmark since the passing of the 1978 Reindeer Herding Act and this discussion intensified in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s The commonly stated mainstream view is that there are too many reindeer and that the number of reindeer should be reduced, for environmental reasons, as it is argued that reindeer pastures, particularly the lichens in the winter pastures are being severely damaged.

According to the new act the maximum number of reindeer in a Siida is determined in light of the district’s land use plan. The Siida itself calculates out the number, with respect to the Siida pastures and the slaughter weights of the reindeer. When establishing a new Siida, the reindeer numbers should stay within the reindeer numbers which have been decided for the Siida. But the Area Board (Områdesstyret) can deny the establishment of a new Siida unit if its average reindeer number goes below 250 reindeer in relation to the determined highest reindeer number for the Siida. According to the act, fewer than 250 reindeer are considered to be uneconomical and from an ecological perspective the total number should not threaten the pastures.

The average number of reindeer in Norway is 70 reindeer per owner.

(Lov om reindrift (reindriftsloven) 2007-06-15-40, Landbruks- og matdepartementet)

(Resursregnskap for reindriftsnæringen, reindriftsåret 2006/2007, Reindriftsforvaltningen 2008)

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