Polar Biology

, 31:1307

Summer distribution of wild reindeer in relation to human activity and insect stress

  • Ingunn Ims Vistnes
  • Christian Nellemann
  • Per Jordhøy
  • Ole-Gunnar Støen
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00300-008-0468-2

Cite this article as:
Vistnes, I.I., Nellemann, C., Jordhøy, P. et al. Polar Biol (2008) 31: 1307. doi:10.1007/s00300-008-0468-2


We examined the summer distribution of 2,500 wild reindeer (Rangifer tarandus tarandus) in southern Norway by eight aerial surveys across 8 years. Most of the reindeer were located at high elevations >1,400 m.a.s.l. (88% of the reindeer in 47% of the area) where insect stress was lower. Within high elevations, reindeer used areas <5.0 km from tourist resorts and major roads and <2.5 km from hiking trails less than expected from availability. A total of 65% of the reindeer were found in high-altitude areas without human development or only including closed maintenance roads, which constituted 21% of the area, likely because these areas gave shelter from both insect stress and human activity. We conclude that wild reindeer appear to select for insect relief areas reaching several kilometers away from human activity if such habitat is available. Infrastructure with associated human activity was found to be avoided in all surveys.


Reindeer Rangifer Ungulate Disturbance Tourism Insect Summer Road Infrastructure Trail 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ingunn Ims Vistnes
    • 1
  • Christian Nellemann
    • 2
  • Per Jordhøy
    • 3
  • Ole-Gunnar Støen
    • 4
  1. 1.Norut Alta-ÁltáAltaNorway
  2. 2.Norwegian Institute for Nature ResearchLillehammerNorway
  3. 3.Norwegian Institute for Nature ResearchTrondheimNorway
  4. 4.Department of Ecology and Natural Resource ManagementNorwegian University of Life SciencesÅsNorway

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