The Arctic Research Network for Diseases in reindeer related to husbandry and climate change (TARANDUS)

Coordinator: Anna Omazic, SVA, anna.omazic@sva.se



The TARANDUS network will gather reindeer researchers from Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Iceland. For two years the network will cover many aspects of reindeer health and welfare linked to climate change.

The semi-domesticated reindeer in the Nordic countries are heavily affected by the ongoing climate change and are facing increased difficulties in finding feed at pasture in the wintertime. Warmer winters and increased precipitation will cause more frequent freeze-thaw events and form an ice cover on the ground. This hinders the reindeers’ ability to both smell the forage under the ice and to reach it. To avoid starvation, reindeer are fed with supplementary fodder in the field or in enclosures. This mitigation strategy is saving reindeer lives, but also leads to stress, increased animal density, and challenging hygienic conditions which increases the risks for infectious disease transmission.

It is important to recognize diseased reindeer, have knowledge of the relevant diseases and treat animals early and experience how to prevent diseases appropriately to avoid disease and reduced condition. This is important both for animal welfare and to avoid economic losses due to rejection and reporting at slaughter. Experts from the National Veterinary Institute (SVA), Sweden, UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Natural Resources Institute Finland (LUKE) and the East Iceland Nature Research Centre, will build a sustainable and interdisciplinary network where the aim is to improve animal health and welfare through development of preventive management routines and optimal herding practices adapted to climate change for a sustainable reindeer herding with a low negative impact on the climate and environment.

The TARANDUS network will coordinate workshops with different themes: animal health and welfare, infectious diseases and feeding related disorders and diseases in wild reindeer; especially focusing on the interlinkage both between each theme and reindeer husbandry and climate change adaptation. Target group for the workshops are researchers, and veterinarians, particularly those working in the reindeer herding regions, stakeholders focusing on reindeer husbandry and climate change adaptation and reindeer herders. The network will also create opportunities for junior researchers to gain interest and increase their knowledge within the research area.