That plump and jolly man has had it good for centuries, relying on his trusty team of reindeer to carry him across the world to deliver presents for all the good boy and girls — but soon Santa Claus may find getting around a bit more difficult.
According to one conservation scientist, reindeer (or caribou, as they’re known in North America) are in a precarious state of decline due to the habitat loss driven by global warming and development.
“It’s no wonder they are attributed with the power of flight in Christmas stories,” said Wells, the scientist. “By the early 1900s, caribou disappeared from the U.S. side of the Great Lakes and most of the Rocky Mountains…In Ontario, the species range has retracted at a rate of two miles a year.”
Unfortunately, Santa Claus isn’t the only one who should be concerned about the decline in numbers for reindeer. Indigenous peoples, Wells points out, have been living sustainably with the animals for generations — in fact, they’ve become an important part of their culture. Setting aside land, particularly in the Canadian boreal, may be the best solution to ensure a healthy population exists in the years to come for future generations to marvel over.
Sorry Rudolph, you might not be able to save the day this time — unless, of course, you’ve got a bike to lend.