Extreme sport may threaten reindeer
A new sport known a snow-kiting has been found to cause fright responses in wild reindeer, according to a study.
The study took place in the Alpine area of South Norway, where scientists measured the reindeer's reactions to both snow-kiting and skiing. Results showed that the reindeer were more afraid of airborne kites than the skiers.
Researchers gathered information to predict the effects an increase in the sport would have on the reindeer population. The data collected included; how far the reindeer fled from the activity, how far they ran, and how long the fright response lasted.
On the basis of the findings, which have been published in the Applied Science Animal Behaviour Science journal, scientists now recommend controls are put on the sport to prevent any harm to the wildlife.
They say these long fright responses could have very negative population consequences for the reindeer. The study predicts that if the number of snow-kiters travelling at 20km per hour reached 111, the reindeer population reduction could be as high as 100 percent in that area.
Snow-kiting is one of the fastest-growing recreational sports in Norway, where the rider wears skis and is pulled along by a kite, similarly to kite-surfing. There are currently no restrictions on the use of snow kites in Norway.