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Fieldwork in EALAT WP 6
Written by Philip Burgess   
Thursday, 09 October 2008 00:00
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dscf5769Elli Risten Nergård is Sami researcher pursuing her Phd in Work Package 6 of the EALAT project. She is a trained veterinarian, has worked for the Norwegian Mattilsynet and is currently a Major in the Norwegian army. These last few weeks have seen an intense period of field work on both a small herd of animals that are being housed at the Department of Arctic Biology (part of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Tromso, also the home of EALAT researcher Monica Sundset).

Eli was also taking part in the Ardni siida reindeer roundup that is beginning their return migration to their winter pastures in Kautokeino. After reindeer are gathered on the island of Arnoya, they are swum across the channel. Ardni siida is one of the last to swim their reindeer as today, most transport their reindeer by ship. Nergård was on hand to assist with castration in a herd that belongs in part to EALAT researcher Inger Marie Gaup Eira.

Aslat Ande Gaup and Eli Risten Nergård at Ardni siida roundup, Arnøya.


Nergård's research concerns the critical issue of castration in a herd of reindeer - an issue that encompasses individual animal welfare and herd wellbeing and Sami herders autonomy regarding their ability to shape their herd according to climatic, ecological and biological requirements. Her working title is Aspects of castration and animal welfare in the reindeer herd in a changing climate.


Eli Risten Nergård measure breathing rate, pulse and oxygen saturation


In the controlled herd in Tromso she was assisted in her field work by reindeer herders and students Lena Monica Siri and Ole Iska Eira, and reindeer herders Issat Turi, Jon Andreas Utsi who are all from Kautokeino.

Everything Needs to be Measured..

Nergård's experimentation involves examining the responses of reindeer to alternative forms of castration. Field work in Tromso also included recording various data including blood sampling, temperatures, weight, height and antler formation and behaviour around a female in heat.


L-R Philip Burgess, Lena Monica Siri, Eli Risten Nergård, Issat Turi, Jon Andreas Utsi, Ole Isak Eira.
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