A fascinating look at the state and fate of caribou in North America, along with the millennia-long practice of reindeer herding in Finland, Russia, and Mongolia.
Within a few days of his arrival from Kenya to the western Canadian prairie city of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, wildlife veterinarian Jerry Haigh discovered that caribou and reindeer are one and the same species: wild caribou in North America, wild reindeer in Eurasia.
In time, Jerry’s interest and research into this dynamic species grew beyond the borders of the northern boreal forests of North America, and he became fascinated with the way they were domesticated by ancient peoples and the folklore about the animals’ origins, including that of the modern Christmas story about Rudolph and his red nose.
Reindeer Reflections recounts Jerry Haigh’s travels and research in the arctic tundra and northern forests of North America, working among the Sami of Finland, and getting to know the nomadic Tsaatan herders in the foothills of the Sayan mountains of Mongolia. This decades-long journey to uncover how this unique species of deer has been woven into the lives of people scattered across the northern hemisphere examines the changes, mostly collapses, in population numbers of both wild and domestic caribou, along with the effects of climate change, poaching, and disease, from Alaska to Siberia, as well as the impact of COVID-19 on the lives of the people he has met along the way.