Wildlife and environment
GPS transponders to track Yamal reindeer herds
© RIA Novosti. Ramil Sitdikov

GPS transponders to track Yamal reindeer herds

Scientists from the Komi Biology Institute of the Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences have fitted a reindeer with a GPS transponder for tracking the animal online. This has been reported by the official government agency website of the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Area.

In February 2017, Tymyiko (Red-Hair), a seven-year-old male reindeer, received a GPS transponder  in the town of Yar-Sale.This took place during an expedition sponsored by the autonomous area's department for science and innovations and the Arktika inter-regional expedition center. It will soon be possible to track the reindeer on the website of the area's IT and communications department, scientists say.

Scientists want to compare daily reindeer activities on adjacent Arctic pastures and try and assess the degradation levels of certain sections of the Bolshaya Zemlya and Yamal tundra. This data will help modify new pasture projects and also help to evaluate the preferred plant diets of various reindeer herds.

"Each reindeer needs about 3.75-5.65 kilograms of dry plant biomass daily, and this can be obtained from various pastures during various seasons. Increased pasture degradation levels force reindeer herds to search for plants over larger grazing areas. Intensive reindeer migration highlights the erosion of the tundra's plant kingdom." This has come from Vladimir Yelsakov, DSc (Biology), Head of the Laboratory of Computer Systems, Technologies and Simulations at the above-mentioned Biology Institute.

Between 2009 and 2017, the Biology Institute studied migration patterns of various animal species involving herds of several teams from the Izhemsk Reindeer Breeder company. They used pastures in the Komi Republic and the Nenets Autonomous Area. This data was later used by scientists as well as by experts from the reindeer-breeding sector.