Strict Standards: Redefining already defined constructor for class wpdb in /homepages/2/d178358563/htdocs/finnmark/diary/wp-includes/wp-db.php on line 49

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /homepages/2/d178358563/htdocs/finnmark/diary/wp-includes/cache.php on line 35

Strict Standards: Redefining already defined constructor for class WP_Object_Cache in /homepages/2/d178358563/htdocs/finnmark/diary/wp-includes/cache.php on line 400

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Page::start_lvl() should be compatible with Walker::start_lvl($output) in /homepages/2/d178358563/htdocs/finnmark/diary/wp-includes/classes.php on line 534

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Page::end_lvl() should be compatible with Walker::end_lvl($output) in /homepages/2/d178358563/htdocs/finnmark/diary/wp-includes/classes.php on line 534

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Page::start_el() should be compatible with Walker::start_el($output) in /homepages/2/d178358563/htdocs/finnmark/diary/wp-includes/classes.php on line 534

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Page::end_el() should be compatible with Walker::end_el($output) in /homepages/2/d178358563/htdocs/finnmark/diary/wp-includes/classes.php on line 534

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_PageDropdown::start_el() should be compatible with Walker::start_el($output) in /homepages/2/d178358563/htdocs/finnmark/diary/wp-includes/classes.php on line 553

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Category::start_lvl() should be compatible with Walker::start_lvl($output) in /homepages/2/d178358563/htdocs/finnmark/diary/wp-includes/classes.php on line 649

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Category::end_lvl() should be compatible with Walker::end_lvl($output) in /homepages/2/d178358563/htdocs/finnmark/diary/wp-includes/classes.php on line 649

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Category::start_el() should be compatible with Walker::start_el($output) in /homepages/2/d178358563/htdocs/finnmark/diary/wp-includes/classes.php on line 649

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Category::end_el() should be compatible with Walker::end_el($output) in /homepages/2/d178358563/htdocs/finnmark/diary/wp-includes/classes.php on line 649

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_CategoryDropdown::start_el() should be compatible with Walker::start_el($output) in /homepages/2/d178358563/htdocs/finnmark/diary/wp-includes/classes.php on line 674

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /homepages/2/d178358563/htdocs/finnmark/diary/wp-includes/query.php on line 15

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /homepages/2/d178358563/htdocs/finnmark/diary/wp-includes/theme.php on line 505
Finnmark 2007 Diary » Blog Archive » Ragnar’s calf

Ragnar’s calf


Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/2/d178358563/htdocs/finnmark/diary/wp-includes/formatting.php on line 76

First snow-fall reading for NASA project…
Lat: 69.24,08 N. Long: 24,39,03 E.
Time of reading: March 18th, 2007, 08.50am. Snow temperature minus 3.5. Air temperature minus 2 degrees.
Snowfall with South East wind.

We continue with NASA Thermacron project taking snow temperature readings every 60 minutes. These give graphics and historigrams for snow temperature variations every 60 minutes. Interpretation of this data will permit NASA to create models for climate change.

Notes from our interview in Varangebotn:
Ragnar owns a part of a significant family reindeer herd. His 25-year-old nephew Jan-Andreas (who looks like a sixteen year old) is also a full-time herder, a way of life that he visibly enjoys. Everyday one of them (and often both) takes a combined car/snowmobile ride to the winter area where his animals graze. The pasture terrain being rather alpine, they have to know the ice-free areas in order to find their reindeer flocks. The purpose of these time-and-energy-consuming visits is to watch out for predators (wolverine, lynx, and eagles) and to check for injured reindeer. During our visit to the winter range this turned out to be the case.

Ragnar had spotted an injured calf during his visit the day before, and had came back fully equipped and, importantly, supported by his young nephew. It took them around 25 minutes to find the calf. The presence of crows is a good indicator for the presence of either injured animals or predators and those black messengers of doom were preparing for a banquet! Jan Andreas rode quickly to the calf, made a tight tour round the beast and caught it with his own hands. He took it on his snowmobile to a flat area for examination. The calf had probably fallen on ice (according to Ragnar) or on rocks (according to my own observation). This kind of injury can happen, as this terrain is rugged, steep and rocky. Otherwise the calf was in good shape, weighting no less than 30kg (born in May, the calves are about 10-month old). It will stay in the fenced garden by the family house, and will be fed by his owner, until Spring migration to the calving grounds and summer pastures.

When we returned to the house, we saw two other calves in the garden. One of them was injured, the other Jan-Andrea’s sister had taken the previous autumn from their uncle’s herd. Jan-Andrea fed them not with hay as I’’d been expecting, but with real delicious lichens, and the best of them (caldonia stellaris by its latin name). Of course he also gives hay but this was the very first time we saw a herder giving lichens to a calf from the hand. The rest of the herd are not fed until just before slaughter. Ragnar and Jan-Andreas do in fact have a picturesque home-made slaughter machine installed in the garden for domestic purposes. As most of the herders in this region, they do not slaughter their reindeer by themselves but sell on to the famous slaughterhouse in Karasjok.

This family is a good example of the importance of modern technology in a traditional economy. First in the list of all reindeer-herding mod cons, the snowmobile is a crucial element with multiple highly important uses. It is the herder’s mean of transport to the herd, keeping the herds together (there are no fences in this family winter range), protecting against predators, acting as outrider for corralling, and finally, reaching individual animals in difficulty as in our case. Good binnacles are another essential prerequisite to find missing reindeer or a reindeer section of a herd in the rugged alpine terrain. Finally, the mobile phone is crucial not only for communication between herders in the tundra but also for communication between herders and government.

As we have mentioned in previous field-notes, the government may compensate some reindeer losses due to predators, if really convincing proof is offered with strong evidence of predator’s damage on herd. Successful compensation claims by all accounts and as published in local newspapers remain lamentably few. But Jan-Andrea’s’ mobile phone is packed with pictures of reindeer attacked by predators. Some of them are so impressive that I believe they may even convince government officers.

Håkan Henrikson, a local government wildlife ranger (Utmarksoppsyn) and Sami, whom we met by chance when he offered a lift to an injured member of the expedition team, admitted that his job was difficult. He suggested that mixed messages were being delivered from both sides, from the government who wavered between strong pseudo environmentalist pressure, a desire not to spend more money than necessary on reparation, and a genuine wish in certain spheres to control predation more effectively. On the Herders’ side there were certainly exaggerations, perhaps largely due to repeated failures to get appropriate help.

image001.jpg

A wounded calf brought home for treatment

Leave a Reply