Overpopulation of reindeer in Greenland

December 9, 2005

Wildlife officials in Greenland say the reindeer population has grown 25 percent since 2000 in the western part of the country.

Biologists estimate the reindeer population may be six times larger than it should be, reported national broadcaster DR.

"We have never seen such big numbers before," said Lars Witting, department chief of the Greenland's Nature Institute.

Authorities had issued open hunting licenses on reindeer, allowing licensed hunters to kill as many animals as they could to reduce the reindeer population, but Greenland's Directorate for the Environment and Nature says the open hunt has not helped, the Copenhagen Post reported Friday.

"At some point food is going to get so scarce that a very large portion of the animals die of hunger," said Mads Brinck Lillelund, of Greenland's Directorate for the Environment and Nature. "It's unfortunate for hunters, who rely on stable numbers."

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

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