As reindeer go, the animals living on the Norwegian arctic archipelago of Svalbard might not be Santa’s first choice. They’re a smaller subspecies of their common mainland relatives, and to save energy they basically never run. But because they were nearly exterminated from Svalbard around 1900 — and were then protected in 1925 — the animals provide unique insights into how conservation can help species thrive.
Mathilde Le Moullec and her colleagues have walked more than 2000 kilometres over four field seasons in the high-Arctic Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, all in a quest to count reindeer.
She can now quite confidently state that Svalbard is home to approximately 22000 of the animals. MORE
Header image: Mathilde Le Moullec on Edgeøya. Le Moullec and her field partner Morgan Bender spent weeks hiking and camping across Svalbard to tally reindeer. Credit: Morgan Bender.