That said, I was somewhat... appalled by the treatment of a finding I've known about for a while:
The scientists were shocked to discover that 34 of the herds were declining, while no data existed for 16 more. Only eight herds were increasing in number. Many herds had been declining for a decade or more.Surprised? I'm not sure they should have been. The data's been around since 2004ish (more on that in a moment).
"We were surprised at the ubiquity of the decline," says Vors.
"When we delved into the status of European reindeer herds, we were surprised that so many were declining. We expected them to be in better shape than North America herds because reindeer, namely the semi-domestic herds, are closely managed by humans."Oh dear. I suppose I should start with the initial statement. Reindeer herding on a whole is on the decline due to human factors. Namely, fewer people are doing it. In North America, little market exists for reindeer meat, and historical factors have sabotaged the development of herding as an industry. In Eurasia, the industry is on the wane for a variety of reasons.
"If global climate change and industrial development continue at the current pace, caribou and reindeer populations will continue to decline in abundance," says Vors.
As for the out-of-nowhere statement about Climate Change, I present this graph from Kofinas and Russel:
You can probably see the issue right from the get go.
I'll refrain from begrudging the point. After all, I haven't seen the paper yet (I am writing this while on vacation!), but it would take strong evidence to convince me that the competing hypotheses are incorrect.