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Snowchange Steps Up Support for the Wild Forest Reindeer

Wild reindeer in Kuhmo. Photo: Antti Leinonen

Wild reindeer in Kuhmo. Photo: Antti Leinonen

The wild forest reindeer (Rangifer tarandus fennicus) was hunted to extinction in early 1900s in Finland. The last bull reindeer was killed in North Karelia, in Ilomantsi in 1918. Then, in 1960s, the stocks re-emerged slowly from Russian Karelia and spread to Western Boreal and into the Kuhmo region. Snowchange and the Landscape Rewilding Programme announce today a range of actions to support the wild reindeer.

Landscape Rewilding Programme announces a focus on securing more wild reindeer habitat and sites for recovery and restoration:

  • Matosuo peatland in Soini supports pastures and rewilding efforts are negotiated with Metsähallitus in Western Boreal
  • Ecological corridors have been established in Ähtäri municipality with intact peatlands, recovering forests and interconnected Nature 2000 sites in Oravasuo area, totaling with state lands over 400 hectares
  • Whole of the Naamanjoki river course has been secured to the LRP as well as Horneankoski forest, river course and peatlands in the northern expanse of Kuhmo municipality which are both ecological corridors and protected sites
  • In the occasional northern edge of the wild reindeer range in Muhos, Kivisuo peatland complex, currently at 650 hectares is expanded to 760 hectares of Snowchange lands to support other wildlife and reindeer habitat

We are also proud to announce early news of a 2023 Wild Reindeer book by award-winning Antti Leinonen, a National Geographic published wildlife photographer. This publication will feature traditional knowledge, unique photographs and materials regarding the Kuhmo reindeer.

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James Reo Departs to the US After a Year with Snowchange

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This week we bid farewell to staff member James Reo, 22-year-old New Yorker, who has been working in the fisheries, rewilding of ecosystems and Sámi Indigenous issues with Snowchange for a year.

Mr. Reo is heading back to the US to complete his university studies. Originally wanting to work for the Siberia programs of Snowchange, James arrived ultimately  to take part in a range of rewilding in Finland in September 2021, as well as in fisheries and Sámi Indigenous environmental monitoring missions.

In the Winter 2021-22 James was a part of the Snowchange seining crew and continued on with the fish traps harvests in summer. Deeply devoted to the environmental, traditional knowledge and Indigenous issues James has been a valuable staff member and Snowchange wishes all the best for his next steps. Come back soon!

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New Discussion Paper Released: Vasilii Robbek at World Expo 2005

vasili _robbek_2007This discussion paper is authored by Vasilii Robbek, an Even leader and scholar from Republic of Sakha-Yakutia. It contains the English and Russian versions of the speech and presentation Prof. Robbek delivered at the World Expo 2005 in Aichi, Japan in September 2005.

He had been invited by the Expo organisers as a part of the larger Snowchange delegation that included

  • Vyacheslav Shadrin, Chief of the Council of Yukaghir Peoples, Sakha-Yakutia
  • Darren King, Maori Scholar, Aoteoroa
  • Apanui Skipper, Maori Scholar, Aoteoroa
  • Tero Mustonen, Snowchange, Finland
  • Kaisu Mustonen, Snowchange, Finland

Vasilii Robbek who passed away in 2010 was an Even scholar who was a talented linguist, an Even (Lamut) leader from Northeastern Siberia and the author of several of the Indigenous rights laws and decrees in the Republic and beyond.

The paper is available here.

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BBC Documents Rewilding Efforts, Cultural Animals

Keljonsuo

Keljonsuo

Burning days of July are here, with record high temperatures across the region. Fisheries continue and rewilding efforts. BBC World Service visited recently with Snowchange and has released their episode “Walking the Iron Curtain“.

The episode is available here. BBC says:

In the final part of her journey along the Iron Curtain, Mary-Ann Ochota meets the naturalists working metres from the Russian border and the locals forbidden in Soviet times from visiting their local beaches and swimming from their own shores.

From the Baltic coast she travels to northern Finland where border territory is being rewilded. Vast tracts of land are seized back from the forestry and peat industries and returned to the forest reindeer and wolverines that once thrived here. The Finnish naturalists once worked hand-in-hand with their Russian colleagues but today the age-old fear of their powerful neighbour has returned. The dream of the European Greenbelt, linking people and nature across dissolving borders, here meets the stark reality of aggressive nationalism.

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Context for Rewilding

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Two new international publications – Society for Ecological Restoration Newsletter and science journal State of the Total Environment discuss Snowchange rewilding work. 

SERNEWS – Volume 36 Issue 2 is dedicated to Traditional Ecological Knowledge in restoration. It features a in-depth review of Finnish context and Sámi situation and how rewilding can realize solutions.

State of the Total Environment summarizes decades of work of Indigenous knowledge, science and mercury in a large review article – Snowchange areas from Jokkmokk, Sweden, Vuotso, Koitajoki and Kemijoki in Finland, Ponoi, Iengra and Kolyma from Siberia featured.

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