Åshild Ønvik Pedersen, a land-based environment and bio-diversity unit of the Norwegian Polar Institute and was therefore in the vicinity of the Svalbard Airport, Longyear, in the summer of 2017. (Credit: Elin Vinje Jenssen/Norsk Polarinstitutt)
Researchers have recently found over 200 dead moose on the island’s of Svalbard in Norway; the animals are starving to death as a result of climate change, which is disrupting the flow of their connection with the plants that they usually eat.
Every year, ecologists with the Norwegian Polar Institute (NPI) survey in reindeer populations in Svalbard, an archipelago of glaciers and frozen tundra, that is, between Norway and the north pole.
The findings of the scientists, ” a 10-week study, game: Moose, population, and the numbers are down, and that the individual animals to be much thinner than they should be. Hundreds of reindeer slaughtered animals showed signs of malnutrition, and in Norway’s national news outlet NRK, who will be on the 27th of July. [6 Surprising Facts About Reindeer]
“It’s scary to find so many dead animals,” Åshild Ønvik Pedersen, a non-profit association of terrestrial ecology, told NRK. Reindeer on Svalbard have been one of the subspecies, Rangifer tarandus platyrhynchus, and they have short legs with the adorable little round heads. Males are slightly larger than females, measuring about 5 feet (1.6 meters) long and weigh up to 198 pounds. (90 kg), according to the ASSOCIATION.
As climate change brings warmer temperatures, to Spitsbergen (now svalbard), which means that there will be more rain. The heavy rains in December and is believed to be responsible for the unusually high number of moose related deaths, the researchers wrote, on the 28th of May and on the NPI website.
After the December rain hit the ground, the precipitation to freeze, and the creation of the “tundra, polar ice caps,” with a thick layer of ice, which is therefore prevented from reaching the vegetation in their normal winter pastures. This forced the animals to dig holes in the shoreline, with nowhere to be found, seaweed, and kelp, which are less nutritious than that of the reindeer, and the usual fare.
The scientists have also observed moose feeding on the rocks on which the animals are rare during the winter, when food is plentiful. The Rocky mountain regions of Spitsbergen (now svalbard), not plants, and this will be the “mountain goat” strategy is a risky one for the reindeer, because the cliffs are very steep. However, during the lean years, more than 50% of the reindeer, and climb to an altitude of nearly 1,000 feet (300 m), in a desperate search for food, the researchers reported.
With their pastures locked up in the ice, the reindeer, and even further in search of food. And if you are running out of food to eat, the youngest and the oldest animals are usually the first to die, Pedersen told NRK.
“Some of the mortality is, of course, because there were so many calves in the last year,” she said. “But it’s the big number that we’re seeing now is a result of the heavy rain, which is a consequence of the warming of the earth.”
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Originally published on Live Science.